When to Close the Chapter: 8 Signs It Might Be Time to Resign
Working in ministry, it’s easy to love your job. That honeymoon phase can seem to last 15 years; it can be hard to notice how long you’ve been rooted in one place. Just like a thriving houseplant, you can grow so much that you become rootbound. Meaning, you need a new pot to continue growing.
That whimsical honeymoon feeling can continue the entire season you serve in one place. The realization that it’s time to consider moving on can come quickly, and you probably won’t see it coming. You may even face guilt, wondering why you would ever leave the ministry you know and love.
Our seasoned staff has lifetimes of experience, and their combined wisdom can help you to evaluate in your own mind, “Is it time to walk away?” On top of their own experience, each member of our team are experts at staffing and consulting, working with turnover every day. We’ve boiled down that expertise into eight signs indicating it’s time to resign.
1. You are no longer excited about the mission.
Losing that passion does not say anything about the mission itself – it might indicate that the Lord is guiding your heart somewhere else. Consider this carefully. A dry week is no reason to quit, but prayerfully consider if the Lord is putting closure on a particular mission to take part in another.
2. You no longer mean what you say.
You are going through the motions, saying and doing the right things, but it has become very inauthentic to what you really believe. Examine your heart and pray for authenticity to happily participate in what the Lord is doing wherever you are. Simultaneously pray about going somewhere else where your heart is aligned with His.
3. You find yourself watching the clock at the end of the day.
Being restless to leave your workplace and be somewhere else is a strong indicator that you're no longer invested. Changing something in favor of your schedule, workload, or interest can help keep you engaged throughout the day. If a deeper lack of motivation causes this, it may indicate you need a bigger change.
4. Your main reason to stay is the paycheck.
If you know in your heart that you’d walk away in a hot second if you had another way to support your family, your heart isn't in it. Money might have always been a motivating factor, especially if you consider your current job a stepping stone in your career. Keep your eyes forward, onto a job you consider purposeful.
5. At the end of your time off, you begin to get tense and dread going back to work.
There’s no shame in being sad that your weekends and vacations are ending, but that’s different from dreading the upcoming work itself. If no purpose draws you back in, you are probably not as invested as you once were.
6. You distrust your leader.
Outwardly, you are supporting your leader, but inwardly, you find yourself questioning that person. Lack of trust will isolate you from your team and cause you to feel disconnected. You should seek to work somewhere where your team’s values are enforced, and you are unified by pursuing a common goal.
7. You no longer tithe to your own church.
Not giving is a heart issue, and it often indicates you don’t trust or believe in the way the church is handling the money. You invest so much of your time into your workplace; they should be trusted with your money the same way. If this scares you, invest your time and money somewhere new, where you know the Lord is using the funds. This may mean changing your workplace and aligning your heart with your workplace.
8. Your efforts go sideways more often than forward.
Rather than investing your energy in moving the mission forward, you are worn out with tangents and sideways issues. You may be debating ministry philosophy and arguing over methods more than you discuss your main beliefs and purpose. You feel divided more often than unified. You feel like you are banging your head against the wall over the same issues again and again. Your efforts are going nowhere, certainly not forward. You may need to relocate somewhere forward-focused.
Any one of these signs is not enough to resign – at that point, it’s an indication that you need to pray, sleep, and recharge. You may need to have serious conversations about change, taking a break, or seeing a counselor. However, if several of these points resonate with you consistently and over time, you need to invest in a ministry where the Lord will put your heart to work. He wants more for you than to go through the motions.
It’s okay to acknowledge that you still enjoy aspects of your current ministry, and love the people in it. However, if these signs resonate with you, the Lord may be simultaneously raising up someone to take your place, who the Lord will use to better care for and further the ministry you leave behind.