A pastor is wise to wrestle with the leave-decision on an annual basis—a few days budgeted for self-examination, for seeking the insight of reliable counselors.

In February 1999, I made a leave-decision. I informed the congregation I served, Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, that in five months I would resign and pursue other avenues of ministry: speaking, writing, teaching, consulting, mentoring.

I felt that my sixtieth year might be the right one to step aside in favor of a younger leader. And at sixty (at least I keep telling myself this), I felt I still possessed an innovative and risky spirit so I could embrace new projects, new ideas, new connections.

When the day came, the church named me Pastor Emeritus and offered kind words and generous gifts of appreciation. It was a good ending. Then they set out to find my successor, and they found a very good one. Today their momentum goes on well without me. In fact, a lot better. That's what this piece is about: leaving a (not "the") ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, join now for free and get complete access.

If you like this, you'll also like: