3 Reasons Church Staff Members Are Looking For A New Job


I have been listening to scores of candidates in interview situations over the last few months and noticed an unsettling pattern arising. Astounding numbers of high capacity church staff members are discontent in their current ministry role.

Why? Are the ministry leaders of the up and coming generation a bunch of spoiled millenials wanting to be catered to and striving to be on top without having to earn it?  Or is the older generation of ministry leaders stagnant and content with preaching to the choir Sunday after Sunday?

Here are a few reasons why I believe these high capacity movers and shakers for the kingdom are looking outside their current role for their next chapter.

1. Comfort

You might think comfort is a good thing. Well, not when it comes to reaching a lost generation for Christ. High capacity church staff members are not satisfied with the status quo. They want and need to be challenged. If your church is not currently out on a limb for God, risking something – security, faith, or reputation – then maybe you don’t have a large enough goal.

Phil Vischer, creator of the well-known Veggie Tales, said, “Ministry is never about job security. It is about making an invisible God visible.”

How are you fulfilling the Greatest Commandment to the highest degree? Do you love God fully? Do you love others deeply? Leaders are not content staying average and being comfortable.

Years ago on a Sunday morning, Bill Hybels once said, “Great vision requires great sacrifice.” Great leaders understand this truth and will not be satisfied with the comforts of the status quo.

2. Contentment/Lack of Vision

Senior Pastor, do you challenge others toward a vision greater than yourselves?  Is there a preferred future out there calling you forward and toward it? Your vision may be around a newer and/or larger facility for your congregation. You may desire to start a new ministry with which your church has no experience, to give a financial amount great then you have prior, or you may want to reach out and become more missions minded. Whatever your vision is, remember, “without vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).

High capacity church staff members need their senior leaders to not only have a vision of a preferred future but also a strategic plan of how they are going to get there. It is ultimately the senior leadership’s responsibility to communicate this to the staff, both clearly and regularly. Many church staff members lack a picture of where they are headed and are easily discouraged, thus looking elsewhere for new, more vision-oriented roles. This could simply be avoided by better communication on the part of executive leadership.

3. Lack of Care

This final challenge is one that I must qualify. I believe there are some individuals who do not know how to create and hold to healthy personal boundaries in their lives. I am not talking to those of you in this section. I am addressing the unrealistic expectations of leadership put on some ministry staff to accomplish the work of 2-3 individuals in one week or to work 70-80 hours a week on a part-time salary. This scenario is one that saddens me the most. I talk to pastors regularly who are working hard and giving of themselves and their families sacrificially.

Stephen Covey said it this way: “So often the problem is in the system, not in the people. If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results.  You have to water the flowers you want to grow." -The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, (New York, NY: Fireside) p. 232

As senior leaders, we should be concerned with watering and nurturing the staff God has placed in our sphere of influence. Then and only then will we be setting up the future generation to succeed in fulfilling the Great Commandment.

How have you worked to overcome these warning signs for your high capacity church staff members?