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The thought of resigning passes through most every pastor's mind, especially in times of conflict. The greater the pain, the more the thought nags us.
LEADERSHIP first published this article in 1983, and it struck a deep emotional chord among readers. One wrote us, "I was ready to quit my church until I read Don Bubna's ten reasons not to. I decided to stay, and now, past the crisis, I'm glad I did. The article's timing was perfect."
"I was feeling a lot of pressure when I wrote that article," says Don Bubna, then pastor of Salem (Oregon) Alliance Church. The ten reasons helped him continue to minister for four more years in that church. Eventually, however, after twenty-three years at Salem, he moved to his present church.
"Now, ten years later, the pressure on me and other pastors is only increasing," he says. "People have higher and higher expectations of their pastor. Today, handling pressure is what ministry is all about." The ten reasons have helped him "stay by the stuff" for the last five years.
"Today I feel as though I'd like to quit, take a leave of absence, resign from the world, or something." So begins a line in my journal, penned about a year ago. I had never felt so much under attack.
We had just received another turndown from a potential youth pastor. The church seemed to be on a plateau, the elders stuck on dead center. In a matter of a few days, a young man from our congregation who had recently gone to Africa was killed in an automobile accident. A missionary pilot from our fellowship had been attacked by South Pacific islanders with machetes and almost died. A retired missionary, our esteemed pastor of visitation, passed into the presence of the Lord after a very brief illness.
During this same period, I received four letters in one day marked "Personal." This kind of envelope seldom bears good news. One was a complaint from a long-time attender who felt I had gotten soft on the gospel. The person was leaving the congregation in order "to be fed" elsewhere. ...