Research Outline

Leadership Succession in Christian Ministries - Other Nations


To identify the state of leadership succession in Christian ministries in nations other than the U.S. (India, Nigeria, and Indonesia to start) for the purposes of understanding how Christian institutions are preparing for pastoral succession.

Early Findings

Preliminary research indicates there is a law in place that limits the amount of time a leader can be in charge of a church in Nigeria and that on average, pastors in India are elderly. However, insights are limited.


  • Section 9:3 of the Nigerian Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Governance Code states that "leaders or founders of nonprofit organizations, including churches and ministries must hand over leadership to a non-family member after 70 years of age or 20 years of being in charge."
  • This section of the code initially went into effect in 2016 and once fully implement could require 90% of Nigeria's evangelical church founders and leaders to retire.
  • However, after prominent church leader Enoch Adeboye resigned to comply with the code, there was a public outcry that prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to fire the FRC's financial secretary and "suspend implementation of the new financial code until after further reviews."
  • The financial code itself was not new, as it was in place for banks and managing directors for years before it was expanded to nonprofit organizations, only people in those positions have to leave after 10 years in the job.
  • The code was upheld in court and Enoch Adeboye became the "General Overseer RCCG worldwide" a distinction that was an attempt by the church hierarchy to circumvent the law.
  • Therefore, currently, in Nigeria, "heads of non-profit organizations have a maximum period of 20 years to lead" and they cannot hand over leadership to family members. This law applies to "all registered churches, mosques, and CSOs."


  • According to the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies' 2018 General Conference, the highest number of church workers are between the ages of 57 and 61.
  • The second-highest age group for church workers is ages 52-56.
  • The majority of ordained Pentecostal pastors are between the ages of 62 and 71, followed by the age group of 72-82.
  • The Bishop of the Pentecostal Church has identified the "critical need for succession-planning as a priority in the PAWI."