Jump directly to the Content

When It's Time to Leave

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, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Ur Video: The Succession Dilemma
Ur Video: The Succession Dilemma
Piper, Keller, and Carson talk about aging and passing on their ministries.
From the Magazine
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
Escaping Russian missiles, some exiled believers found a new sense of purpose helping refugees.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.