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5 Reasons A Pastor Should Reconsider Leaving Their Church

Pastor are you facing what seems to be insurmountable challenges in your current church or ministry position? You may be tempted to throw in the towel and simply move on.  Although there may be a time and occasion to eventually do that...before you move ahead and make an irreversible decision, consider this counsel first.

adapted from Ben Simpson:

1. Your leaving should only be by the permission of God.
Paul told the Ephesian elders to “be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood,” (Acts 20:28). You have been called and placed by God where you are. Since this is true, it’s not up to you when to leave. He called you go there, and He will call you to leave there. Until then, stand and persevere.

2. Your leaving very well may cause you to miss something glorious that God is doing.
The 16th-century Reformers rallied around the slogan “after darkness, light.” Scripture and history prove that saying to be wise. It’s often the darkest of hours that precede glorious days of light. Stay put and rest in the sovereignty of God who “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” (Romans 8:28). Light is coming!

3. Your leaving could erode the trust of the sheep for the next shepherd.
Step back, and look at the long-term, big picture. What effect will your leaving have on the church for years to come?

4. Your leaving might say something about your pastoral motivation.
Jesus says that hirelings run away when the wolf appears (John 10:12). They are shepherding primarily for selfish reasons — what they can get out of it — and when the problems shows up, a quick cost-benefit calculation leads the hireling to decide that the sheep and the benefits aren’t worth the trouble of dealing with the wolf. “They don’t pay me enough to mess with that!” the hireling says. In contrast, Jesus wasn’t concerned about what He was getting, but whom He was serving. In fact, Jesus came not to be served but to be serve (Mark 10:45), and that caused Him to be willing to face the wolf even if it meant death. He was that concerned for the sheep! Is that same mentality in you? Ask yourself why you are pastoring and why you are thinking about leaving your flock. What motivation surfaces? Is it Christ-like?

5. Your leaving might be based on what you can do instead of what God can do.
We look at situations and say in our flesh, “it’s hopeless,” but is that declaration ever true in light of the God of the Bible? No way! We who walk by faith and not by sight say with Jeremiah, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, … nothing is too hard for You!” (Jeremiah 32:17). We often run away because we think that the problems are too much for us, the whole time being right but forgetting that God will face the challenges with us. Don’t base your decision to leave upon what you can do. Keep in mind what God, the one with whom all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), can do.

(ht: Ben Simpson)


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