Over the past few years, I’ve been in numerous conversations with ministry leaders wondering if it is time to quit their ministry position. That’s not an easy decision to make and requires some intentional discernment.
Maybe you’ve wondered this. I know I have.
Before I begin to name these warning signs, I think it is important to note that asking this question is okay, even if you are loving your ministry. It’s totally natural and no one should ever feel guilty for feeling this way from time to time.
Two major hang-ups a lot of ministry leaders have when they ask if they should leave their ministry are these:
- If I quit, I’m letting down those I minister to.
- If I quit, I’m letting God down.
Understand this: neither of those statements are ever true.
I truly believe that those two statements are not inspired by God. They are inspired by God’s enemy. As you read the four warning signs below, know that if your mind starts to wander back to the above statements, dismiss those thoughts.
These warning signs can often come together. Experiencing one of these warning signs may not be sufficient enough reason to leave your ministry. As soon as you start to feel two or more of these warning signs for a long period of time, it’s time to listen to these warning signs seriously.
1. No or little support from church leadership:
This is probably the most common sign. Is your pastor supporting you? I know some ministry leaders who not only have no support, but have a pastor or other supervisor that is intentionally sabotaging their efforts.
I’m not saying this is common, but when your pastor or supervisor put up roadblocks every time you try to do something in your ministry, it’s time to evaluate what’s going on. It could be a simple misunderstanding or lack of communication. Or, it could be a major personality clash that can be difficult to mend.
I’ve also seen the opposite: a pastor that ignores your ministry completely. That’s not helpful either. We all need support to succeed.
2. When you dread going to the church each day:
I have felt this before and it is not a fun feeling. Sure, we all have a day or two when we feel this way. The moment this is a feeling you have for weeks and months on end, there’s something going on.
3. You don’t feel challenged in your ministry anymore:
This could simply be boredom. It could also be that there is no room for growth where you’re at. I don’t want to just go through the motions everyday. I want to challenge myself and grow my ministry. Before you assume it’s time to leave, though, spend some time reflecting on why you feel this way. Does your attitude need a change, or have you truly hit the lid of your current ministry?
4. You Spend More Time At Church Than At Home:
I’ve met too many ministry leaders that do this. They sacrifice their family for their ministry. Why? Because they think their ministry is for God, so giving everything they got is necessary. I’ve got news: Your family will always be your primary ministry. Don’t mix this up or you will lose your family. Interestingly, when you lose your family you will also lose your ministry. Quit your ministry and save your family.
One last note: it would be irresponsible for you to quit your ministry position without having some sort of game plan for you and your family. If any of these warning signs are true for you, spend time in prayer first to discern God’s true will for you. If God is affirming that you should move on, create a plan and begin looking for other opportunities before you turn in your letter of resignation.
Question: Are there other warning signs that you have seen in your time in ministry?