When Is It Okay To Leave A Church Job?
By: Vanderbloemen January 21, 2013
Change is hard. Change is especially hard when you have poured years into a ministry that is now headed in a different direction. When is it okay to leave a church job? Why do we sometimes feel guilt or confusion when we feel God may be calling us to a new place?
It’s never an easy decision, but I believe that the Lord gives pastors a special gift of discernment. If you’re beginning to feel that He may be leading you to a new church job, pray continually and ask Him to grant you discernment in where He is leading you. As you’re praying, consider these three areas that may be opening a door to a new opportunity.
1. Vision: When we are hired under a specific vision, we often feel a great sense of loyalty to the leader that hired us. That senior leader may leave, or another leader may be hired who changes the direction of the staff. If you don’t align with the overall vision however it comes about – whether its’ the same leader who changes it or a new leader who is hired – you owe it to yourself to at least consider, “Is this a good time for me to leave?” You have the freedom and discernment to decide if it is time to leave. Change is hard, so a lot of us sit and hope things will get better, but this is rarely the case.
2. Passion: If you are bored with your church job, lose your passion for your role, or feel like your position is no longer important to the church, then consider pursuing a new opportunity to serve elsewhere. Sometimes this feeling may be the result of a vision problem as described above. Other times, it may be a red flag that it’s time to move on to a place where you are passionate about your ministry. We rarely tire from doing too much. We always tire from doing too much of the wrong thing.
3. Finances: If the church can’t afford to resource your ministry, or if your paycheck doesn’t allow you to provide for your family, consider pursuing another church job. By no means am I implying that we need a lot of money to effectively share the Gospel, but I do think the church is responsible for equipping its pastors with financial resources for their ministry and their families. If the church doesn’t support its pastors financially, it can’t expect pastors to stay when they are presented with a church job have an opportunity to better provide for their family. The Bible is very clear that we are responsible for providing for our families. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” As church leaders, we need to think carefully about this verse and be sure we support our staff financially.
Change is hard, but change isn’t bad. Change may lead to conflict, but conflict should lead to growth. It’s good to have new people come into your ministry to keep your church staff fresh and relevant. Don’t forget about Paul and Peter in Acts who moved the early church leaders around to different churches where they could best serve. Seek the Lord about where He can best use you to serve Him, His Church, and your family. If there’s anything we can do here at Vanderbloemen to help you, please don’t hesitate to let us know.