Since we’re still in the first few days of 2008, it’s always a good thing to assess where you are and what you’re doing. I was amazed to hear Mike Holmgren, coach of the Seattle Seahawks in an interview say that each and every year, no matter how well his team plays (and they’re still in the playoffs, by the way) he assesses whether or not he’s going to re-up for another year. This is not a bad thing for any of us to do, particularly if you’re a pastor of a church.
Just because you’ve been the pastor in 2007 doesn’t mean you need to stay there. Trust me, you don’t need the work. The same God that employed and brought you there can take care of you at the next assignment.
The question is, how do you know when it’s time to leave the church you’re serving, whether you’re a pastor, or leader, either paid or volunteer? Here are some suggestions.
It’s time to leave the church…
1. When you no longer love the people. When you find yourself complaining about them more than praising them, it’s time to get out.
2. When you no longer love the city or the location you’re serving. The most sustaining factor any pastor has going for himself or herself is that they love where they’re serving – the town, the people. If you don’t love where you are serving, it’s time to find a place that you can.
3. If you find your speaking stale. You’re finding it hard to be inspired about what to speak on. You have a great big Bible filled with 66 books and thousands of stories and illustrations, principles and applications that can be made. And yet with all that material, you feel dry and stuck.
4. When you find yourself wandering in your heart and mind about what might be out there for you. We all do that some, but if you’re doing it almost exclusively, it’s time to launch out into the brave new world and see exactly what might be next.
5. If you stop believing in the people you’re serving alongside in leadership. If you don’t believe in the people you’re serving alongside, they know it. You know it. And it’s time to make a change.
6. If the church you’re serving won’t take care of you financially and your family is suffering over financial issues, it’s time to get out, even if you have to get a “real job.”
7. If you’re finding that you and your spouse are arguing more and more over the problems at the church, rather than the joy of being a family, it’s time to get out of the boat.