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The Decision to Stay

It's always too soon to quit.
V. Raymond Edman

Is it time to leave my church? Maybe even the ministry?

Those questions, though seldom spoken, are often thought. The Leadership survey showed nearly 40 percent of pastors have "considered leaving" the pastorate and "looked into other types of ministries and/or occupations." That doesn't include the nearly 10 percent who did indeed give it up. And the number who have wrestled with "Should I leave this current church?" probably approaches 100 percent.

The question is one of the most difficult a pastor will have to answer, for it is almost always, as one put it, "filled with lingering doubts, self-criticisms, and the pain of unfulfilled dreams."

Though the question "Should I leave?" occasionally plays in every pastor's mind, within the discouraged minister it puts on a full-court press. It dogs, it harries, it doesn't let up. "There have been many times when I've questioned, 'Lord, what are you saying?'" says a Lutheran pastor. "'Does this mean ...

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