Dan Reiland

Leadership Transitions and Measuring Success in Succession

About The Episode


“To go too long, to go too far…big mistake.” Meet Dan Reiland, former Executive Pastor at 12Stone® Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Dan’s example of transitioning as an outgoing pastor is one every pastor should take note of. With practical metrics on what successful transition looks like afterward, spiritual insights for staying in tune with God’s voice, and a heart for serving the next generation, today’s episode is a helpful one for what it looks like to transition healthily in the church.

Welcome to Episode 089 of the Leaders in Living Rooms Podcast with Sean Morgan.

Insights From Dan


  • You need to cultivate trust as a team. Embrace honesty in conversations. There is written clarity for the roles. When you have trust + honesty + clarity, you can rise above it and have fun.


  • Dialogue and prayer for transition began a decade before for Dan’s team.
  • Work toward eliminating debt for incoming pastors.


  • Ability to handle pace and pressure
    • The larger an organization grows, the faster it moves, and the faster it moves, the greater the pressure.
  • Paying attention to competence and capacity
  • Ability to handle emotions under pressure – self-control
  • Energy management
  • Ability to find margin, create margin, and use it in a healthy/smart way


  • Things you can’t anticipate that pull energy out of you
    • Changes in leadership
    • COVID
  • Letting go of responsibility (not just tasks or empowering others)
    • “The idea of not being responsible translated to irresponsible…”
    • Understanding how God is reinventing you to a new role


  • The receptivity from the staff on changes (vision casting happened for a year before)


  • Honor the past; live in the present; serve for the future generation


  • Longevity of the new lead team (20-30 years is the goal!)
  • Healthy culture of the staff and culture of the church
    • Stay outward focused
  • New leaders’ ability to discern current culture and stay effective in ministry

Episode Links

Succession Sunday – 5 Insights from a Moment Years in the Making

If you’re a leader approaching a succession or transition. Or maybe you’re a few years in and beginning to see how complex transitions leadership is… go to The Art of Pastoral Succession and checkout my brand new course in partnership with Carey Nieuwhof. 

Are you in Transition or have one on the horizon? Check out our 2023 cohorts and get connected with us at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/

Who is Dan Reiland?

Dan Reiland has been a pastor and leader for more than forty years. He served alongside John C. Maxwell for twenty years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Church and then as vice president of leadership and church development for INJOY Ministries. For the last twenty years, he has served as executive pastor with founding and senior pastor, Kevin Myers, of 12Stone® Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. 

Dan is the author of Leadership Alone Isn’t Enough, Confident Leader! Amplified Leadership, and Shoulder to Shoulder. He blogs regularly on The Pastor’s Coach at danreiland.com. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor’s heart and a coach’s instincts. He truly loves the local church and is described as one of the nation’s most innovative church thinkers, a top church consultant, and an exceptional executive leadership coach. His passion is developing and empowering leaders who want to grow and are willing to take risks for the kingdom of God.

Dan and his wife, Patti, have two children, John-Peter and Mackenzie, who is married to Jacob, and a granddaughter, Anza. In his spare time, he enjoys time at the beach with Patti, grillin’ and chillin’ with his family, and playing the guitar.


Thanks to our sponsor: Food For The Hungry.

Combine your church’s heart for the poor and Food for the Hungry’s global experience at fh.org/churches

Quotes From Episode

“As you rise in leadership, you have to be able to lead your emotions because if you don’t, they will lead you. And that will take you out.”

“The idea of not being responsible translated to irresponsible…”

“To go too long, to go too far…big mistake.”

“To dishonor, or even merely dismiss, the past is to potentially dishonor God.”

“Honor the past, but don’t get stuck in it.”

“The Gospel lives in the present.”

“Transition helps us hand off to a culture that’s better able to reach the younger generation.”

Listen to Recent Episodes

About the Host

Sean Morgan is a coach and speaker with a national reputation as a catalyst of fresh vision. His passion is to help ministries navigate obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

Throughout his career, Sean has pioneered initiatives impacting thousands of leaders across the country. He started out serving as Executive Pastor and CFO at New Life Church in northern California.

As host, Sean gives you access to amazing conversations, hard-won wisdom, and poignant insights from world-class leaders in intimate “living room” settings.

Your Host

Sean Morgan

Leaders in Living Rooms
Craft & Character

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