The Successor®

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Gaithersburg, MD – From Sovereign Grace Ministries, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, comes news of an exciting new competition. Throughout the Fall, Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) will travel the length and width of America, visiting malls and megachurches across the nation seeking The Successor®.

The ministry expects more than 10,000 young men to vie for their chance to become The Successor®. Of the thousands of candidates, eighteen will be chosen to travel to Gaithersburg where an eighteen-week competition will gradually reduce the number to one. The winner of this competition will be named The Successor® and will become apprentice to C.J. Mahaney. He will be groomed to succeed Mahaney as leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Mahaney serves on the Council of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and on the boards of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. He is the author of The Cross Centered Life; Christ Our Mediator; Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs to Know, Humility: True Greatness, and Living the Cross Centered Life. He is no stranger to such competitions. In 1998 he conducted a similar competition to choose his successor as Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church. Surprisingly, there was only one applicant and, after a long and grueling competition with himself, Josh Harris was declared The Successor®.

Upon arrival in Gaithersburg, contestants, who will live together in a dorm-like setting, will be divided into two teams: Team Humility and Team Servant. Each week the teams will be assigned a task and required to select a Servant Leader to lead in the task. The winning team will receive a reward while the losing team will face elimination. Rewards are expected to vary from opportunities to meet backstage with Bob Kauflin during the GLAD reunion tour (GLAD will be opening for POD on their upcoming tour) to time alone with C.J. on the shores of Lake Mahaney (which is to say the reservoir immediately behind Covenant Life Church).

sgm.jpgEach week the losing team will meet in the Spurgeon Room where a showdown will take place that will see Mahaney fire the weakest contestant. Elimination will proceed in two phases. In the first stage, every one of the members of the losing team will be confronted with their successes and their failures. They will be given the opportunity to plead their case. The Servant Leader will then select one or two team members he feels are most responsible for the loss and they will accompany him to the Spurgeon Room where they will face a final showdown with Mahaney. After further examination by C.J. and his assistants, one contestant will be fired. Because the words “You’re fired!” are no longer in the public domain, Sovereign Grace Ministries has trademarked the phrase, “Would you please serve us by serving somewhere else!” and these are the words it is expected Mahaney will use to declare his decision and remove a contestant.

The eliminated contestant will be immediately sent home while the others will continue in the competition. He will be given an opportunity to say his final words as he is driven to nearby Baltimore Washington International Airport.

Serving as Mahaney’s assistants will be the stern-faced Carolyn McCulley and the long-serving Bo Lotinsky. They will be his “eyes and ears” on the ground during competitions and will be expected to provide updates to Mahaney. They will be present in the Spurgeon Room during the elimination showdowns and will be free to scold contestants or to ask questions of them.

While the details of individual tasks remain a closely guarded secret, rumors have long circulated on the Internet that one would involve re-organizing “the world’s best bookstore” which is in the lobby of Covenant Life Church. Currently selling primarily books, teams will be expected to integrate the most exciting, humble and discerning Christian potpourri and Bible-zines, thus raising the store’s profitability. Another task will involve redesigning the covers of C.J. Mahaney’s books to increase the visibility of overtly religious iconography.

When only four candidates remain, they will face a long and grueling series of interviews with a wide variety of church leaders and theologians. Each of these interviewers will provide their assessments of the candidates to Mahaney. The two weakest candidates will be fired, leaving two finalists. These two will embark on a head-to-head competition which will ultimately determine the winner. While details are sketchy, it is expected that one finalist will be required to teach a day-long course defending cessationism at the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s college while the other will have to teach a course defending continuationism at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

The season finale will be held live in the Covenant Life Church auditorium. Mahaney, McCulley and Lotinsky will be given a final opportunity to grill the remaining two candidates. And finally Mahaney will announce his decision. The winner will become The Successor® and will eventually succeed C.J. Mahaney as leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries. He will be hired at an extremely average salary and will be expected to move into the Mahaney home for at least one year. He will accompany Mahaney to conferences, preaching engagements and pick-up basketball games, thus learning the skills he will need to successfully serve as leader.

Because of SGM’s complimentarian beliefs, the competition is open only to men. Additionally, only men aged eighteen to thirty will be considered. While evidence of the early onset of male pattern baldness will not be considered a necessity, most industry insiders expect that it will be regarded as an asset.

Television rights to the competition have been sold to the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the show is expected to air coast-to-coast. It will be slotted between This Is Your Day with Benny Hinn and Daily Affirmation from Lakewood Church with Joel and Victoria Osteen.

Stay tuned for details of Sovereign Grace Ministries’ coast-to-coast search for candidates coming this Fall. You could be The Successor®!