Jump directly to the Content

Switching Churches? Your Exit Doesn't Have to Be Messy

You can still bless others by the space you leave behind.
Switching Churches? Your Exit Doesn't Have to Be Messy
Image: Michael Ramey / Unsplash

Let me let you in on a little secret pastors usually keep to themselves: when someone leaves your church, it’s excruciating.

A few months ago, for instance, a middle-aged man in my church informed me he had decided to pack it in. He shared several reasons why: he didn’t like my teaching, felt I was not being biblical in my leadership, thought I was inaccessible to him and his needs, and insisted that the priorities of the church were not right. He went on to tell me that when I returned from my sabbatical last year, he’d hoped I would announce that I would be leaving the church to pastor elsewhere. And to cap things off, he told me there was a season where he was so angry with me that he wanted to kill me.

It took me about a month to get over that conversation. Pastors pour so much of ourselves into our churches that it’s difficult for us not to take our work personally. Because ministry is rooted deeply in relationships, when a family leaves, it can feel like the ...

Posted:
October
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
The Cost of Creativity: Bonhoeffer Set Aside Ethics For Art. Did He Choose Well?
The Cost of Creativity: Bonhoeffer Set Aside Ethics For Art. Did He Choose Well?
The theologian set aside his nearly finished magnum opus while in prison, investing instead in creative writing.
Editor's Pick
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Come Ye Pastors, Heavy Laden
Learning to walk under the weight of ministry's many hats.
close