Impact Church Senior Pastor Olu Brown recently announced his retirement from ministry following 14 years as Impact Church’s senior pastor.
Although his retirement officially begins in 2022, Brown already has plans to do coaching and consulting full time with leaders. He will be 44 years old when his retirement takes effect. Brown says his career is not ending but is a transition into his next portfolio perspective.
“I’ve always seen my life as being blended,” Brown said. “One year in advance gives me more time to plan for transition.”
Upon retiring, he coined the new phrase “Normalizing Next,” an idea about how to best prepare for the future, especially churches that experience any kind of change or transition.
“’Normalizing Next’ is when you are no longer afraid to do your best to prepare for and strategize so that we can be fully successful,” Brown said. “What things are you investing in now? Diet, relationship, career? When you put yourself in the best position you can be in, that’s when next becomes normal, spiritually, financially, economically, physically, and mentally.”
According to Brown, “Normalizing Next” includes a seamless transition of leadership, protecting organizational continuity, and the importance of succession planning and how to proactively develop new leadership to take over when a leader of an organization resigns or leaves his or her position.
Brown says the concept can also help churches that are dealing with the transition of leadership or changes in the church.
“We’re always modeling and transitioning and that’s ok and expected,” Brown said. “When a pastor leaves a church and there is no plan in place for that transition, it leaves the church in a place that doesn’t allow it to thrive in the future. You always want your organization or church to do better after your great legacy in leadership.”
Brown says there are good and bad transitions in churches, where he has seen a lot of examples in both.
He believes his calling now is to help churches, businesses, and organizations of any type learn and use the “Normalizing Next” concept because he feels it is a great model for leaders in transition.
What happens when an organization follows this model is the organization acknowledges that a transition is taking place, the key leader publicly says it and behaves in that way, and then shifts out of the way.
Then this person moves from supervisor to coach, where they move from delegating, directing, and hands-on roles to asking questions and coaching. Once a plan is set in place, the plan should be executed and carried out, putting that organization in a better position and better reality than before.
“Developing a plan of transition can take months, years. It involves people in leadership, and for churches should include prayer and scripture,” Brown said. “My interest and passion currently is in the community, politics, business, coaching and consulting leaders.”
Brown said no one has been appointed the new senior pastor of Impact Church yet. That decision is up to Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.
He also stated that he has not received any opposition regarding his decision to retire and that every situation is different.
Additionally, he shared that his members are sad that he will no longer be serving as their senior pastor but support him and God’s calling in his life.
“Don’t put pressure on yourself to have everything ready and answered,” Brown said. “As best as you can, prepare for next.”
Impact Church is located in East Point, Georgia. For more information, visit www.olubrown.com or www.impactdcd.org.