It’s an age-old question. When is the right time to leave your church staff? Some would say leave when you are headed up and to the right. Others say exit before the other shoe drops.
So, when is the right time to leave a church staff? I believe there are a few questions you should ask yourself as you begin to examine this serious issue.
- Am I being asked to do anything I feel is against my values?
- What season of life is my family in?
- What are my future goals?
- Can I sustain a time of transition financially if I choose to leave?
- What is the condition of my heart at this time in ministry?
- When I am still and quiet, what does my heart say?
- What would my family and/or closest spiritual friends say about my current situation?
- What does God’s Word have to say about my situation?
- What is God showing me through this season?
- Am I running from something or to something?
- Have I lost my joy? Or my passion? Or am I just tired and need rest?
Whatever you do, whether you leave your church staff by your choice or others…excelling in your role or struggling….always leave well. You do have a choice in this matter.
What does it look like to leave well? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Leaving well means not leaving a wake behind you. Church staff members who leave well do not leave all of their baggage for others to clean up. They leave their work space clean for the next person filling their role. They finish the tasks or pass their responsibilities on to someone else without dropping the ball.
- Leaving well means equipping your church staff to fill your role in the absence of a full-time person. Talk with your boss about training a current church staff member in your daily responsibilities to help maintain your role if your replacement is not hired before your departure.
- Leaving well means exiting graciously. Their words are kind and encouraging upon their exit. The last impression they give others upon their departure is always positive and uplifting.
- Leaving well means keeping the door open for future relationship. If possible, those who leave well continue to stay connected to their staff members and count them as not only references but also friends. Future ministry opportunities and increased networking relationships often result from maintaining relationships with former coworkers.
If you find yourself in a place where you have lost your joy and passion for ministry, let me encourage you that God is the giver of that joy. When He has called you and equipped you to do His good works He will give you what you need to accomplish His good works. Keep your eyes focused on the road before you and don’t try to get ahead of God. Take one day at a time. That is where you will find Him.
What other questions are helpful to ask yourself when considering a transition? What other ways can you leave well?
By: Deanna Kotrla, Vanderbloemen Search Group