You Cannot Pass your Mantle to your Children or Children's Children. Only God can do that.

The Spirit of God in me has railed against presumption manifested by nepotism in ministry. The assumption that being the son or daughter of an effective 5 fold minister somehow by blood passes to the progeny. It happens so seldom that when in a black swan event seems to succeed we point to those unique times as examples. They are false. Eli the prophet's sons were failures, Aaron's sons were killed by God for being presumptive in ministry and Samuel who had hopes for his boys, instead raised reprobates. Great men and women of God seldom raise successful successors from their own bloodline.

There are almost zero positive examples of a five fold minister successfully handing down his or her mantle to the next generation. I can think of only a few close calls and they were anemic at best. Joel Osteen doesn't count. If you know the story, he was not handed the ministry from John. John Died, Joel reluctantly picked it up. New day new game.

Why do we not hear of the children of Apostles and Disciples who carried the torch in the Book of Acts or the Epistles? Peter had children. Nothing. Phillips Daughters were prophetesses. What was more often the pattern, recognition was given to a good father or mother who prepared their son or daughter well. When Timothy emerged Lois (his Grandmother) got some sunshine.

Yet the pattern repeats. Again and again we see and hear of spectacular shipwrecks of unprepared children who took over when Pastor dad/mom died or retired from the ministry and the net result was heartbreak. It's almost a guarantee.

What brings this to the surface once again is the arrest of the son of one of the late Generals of the faith in the past few days. I remember being in a meeting with him in Broken Arrow. There was great prophetic confidence that he would take over the ministry of his father and do mighty exploits. Nothing has been further from the truth. He has spiraled downward. All the prophetic words in the world couldn't turn a pattern that nearly always occurs. In business and in ministry family business succession is a Rags to Riches to Rags in 2 (Sometimes 3 generations). It's legendary.

There is a prophetic admonition in all this. If you would have your son or daughter follow you in ministry and maybe pick up your mantle someday, get them out of the greenhouse environment of your church and out into the field for hardening off. They will need it. They cannot pick up that mantle unless they have spent years in the desert discovering all the good water holes, the good hiding places, where friends and enemies located, where the escape routes and where the safe caves are. They need to learn to live off the land in a desert place. They need to learn to acquire their own followers from those wandering the desert with them. THEN, if they choose (mostly they won't) they can come back and pick up the mantle you will leave behind. It worked for didn't work as well for Solomon.

It would be better, even if you have a prophetic inkling that they are destined to follow you on, to keep it to yourself. My oldest son told me last year that when he saw me preaching from the pulpit when he was about 13 years old (he's 44 now), he said to himself, "I want to do that". He never told me. He drifted from the faith. Was beaten up in the world. Today he is a Pastor in a Church and doing what he saw me do. I had no clue this was on his heart. If God had shown me, I might have messed it up.

What works in finding a successor for your ministry is discover the graces of God already among you. Nurture and blow on the hot coals of that grace until he or she comes alight. That requires hunger and persistence on the part of the one to follow in desiring the mantle you wear ... not on the one about to hand off the mantle. You will ultimately shed your mantle, who picks it up is not your call. It's God's.

The story of Elijah and Elisha in transition and the passing of Elijah's mantle is how it REALLY happens. The one receiving is in place, prepared, persistent, intent, hungry for more of GOD and when the time comes for the mantle to pass, the transfer is seamless. The mantle fits perfectly. The key to receiving the mantle is how much do y0u really want it, are you willing to pay the price?

I once sat with the leadership of a church in crisis and tried to help them understand this pattern of mantle transfer, the necessity for the one to whom the mantle will be passed to be hardened off on the field of battle with principles of ministry hammered out on the anvil of experience. That word of wisdom was not received. I wasn't offended. I was saddened. We misunderstand how God sees our family when we decide that ministry is a generational enterprise. He sees us as individuals. IF he calls two people from the same family it's more amazing than assumed.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

I chose YOU for such a time as this. I lift one up and put another down. No man can rob Me of My Glory. I choose the foolish and weak to confound those who believe themselves wise. Your eyes are on your legacy when you appoint your successor by blood. You have no legacy other than what I give you...when you will pass from this earth and a new one will emerge. Moses my servant will be dead ... Joshua of no blood to Moses (son of Nun) will be my man in the new day. So it shall be for you.

Only I can measure the heart of a man, only I can define those who I will place before those called by My name. When you speak for Me and proclaim that this one or that one is to take that place, you take my name in vain. I anoint and appoint those who I will.

I will draw My mighty men and women from the cave of Adullam, discouraged and hurt. In pain and rejected. Those who's brokenness I can reform into an image of ME, not YOU.

Let those with ears to hear, hear what the Spirit of the Lord says.

From Gene Redlin
who walks in the office of a prophet, and writes from that perspective.