If you are experiencing tensions in your current ministry role or hearing promptings to explore the possibility of leaving your church job, this blog post is for you. Everyone has at one point in their life had to discern if God was leading them into a season of transition. But there are also times when God calls us to remain where we are. Is an external or circumstantial change the remedy you truly need?
As you ask these questions about whether it is time to leave your church job, be sure to ask why it would be wise to stay. It is important to approach this reflection process with an open and honest mentality rather than a confirmation bias that will lead you to notice the evidence in support of your desires. You may be looking for an external change to remedy an internal conflict or dilemma, and this is written to help you assess that possibility.
Here are four important considerations you must reflect on during this season of questions.
1. Staying is not inaction.
Being still and patient is far different than being stagnant and complacent, but this distinction can feel less clear when we are experiencing a tension in our current church job. Moving on can feel like the only possible form of movement that will lead to progress and relief. It is common to think that the largest change will provide the greatest relief from the tension. We all have the tendency to want to run from our problems or brush them off without really addressing them.
Staying where you are often requires more action than moving to a new church job.
But staying requires digging in. Staying requires attempting to resolve the tensions. Staying requires patience and perseverance. Changing our circumstances by moving on can produce a self-gratifying sense of control. Staying often requires faith that large portions of change are not in our control. Prayerfully consider if God is calling you to stay.
2. Wherever you are, you are.
While this is a simple turn of a phrase and a seemingly obvious fact, it has been an important reality that has helped keep me grounded in different transitions. As you consider transitions and how your situation can be improved, be mindful of the fact that an external transition to a better environment will not remove you from your internal environment.
Assess if the tensions you are feeling are internal ones. If they are, then a change in environment will not relieve those tensions, at least not in a sustainable way. Wherever you are, you are. Address any heart issues that are involved in your consideration of a church job change.
3. Is your job what needs to be improved?
Don't look at this time of reflection as merely an opportunity to improve your ministry job. It is also an opportunity to improve you.
Similar to the last point, this transition season may not be about transitioning church jobs, but transitioning habits and perspectives that have contributed to the tensions you observe in your environment. Take ownership of the role you have in the tension you feel; we always have room to grow and typically have a portion of blame to own. Or maybe rather than change church jobs, it's time for you change up your responsibilities withing your current role. Talk to your supervisor about new challenges you can take on or draining tasks that someone else might be better suited to accomplish.
4. The grass is not always greener.
The grass is not always greener, and even if there is a greener pasture somewhere, that does not mean you are called to serve in that greener pasture.
Every person, every relationship, every ministry position, and every church comes with struggles and challenges. If you idealize the perfect church role in your mind and compare your current role in discontentment, then you will always be chasing a rabbit.
Even if there are ample struggles and tensions in your current role, you may be the catalyst that God wants to use to change that dynamic. I have talked to many people that feel called to step into broken situations and serve as a catalyst for change and restoration. It is possible that you are in that position, whether it was something you knowingly stepped into or not.
It is essential to name the reasons to stay in a job as clearly as the reasons to leave.
When considering a church job change, there are always reasons on both sides of the pro and con list. Stay curious and consider all the possibilities while naming the tensions and the possible remedies. I hope you are able to reflect on your environment and yourself with a healthy, prayerful, and open perspective that will help you inform your next steps.
This article was provided by our church executive search partner, Vanderbloemen Search Group. To learn more about Vanderbloemen Search Group's recruiting services and how they can help you fill your open position, click here.