3 Ways to Get Fired From Ministry

At the end of this month it will be my 5 year anniversary at Brookwood Church. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. I think most of us would desire to see ourselves working in a situation that we love for a long period of time. But in my time here and from hearing from some of my friends in the ministry, that doesn’t always happen.

For some, longevity is not something that they seem to achieve at the new place. As a young person or maybe a person that hasn’t figured it out yet, here are some sure fire ways to get canned at your church.

1. Consistent lapses in your personal character/integrity

Everyone fails and makes mistakes. But not learning or choosing not to do anything different usually isn’t a pattern of success. Lying, taking the shortcuts, and misrepresenting yourself to others are all ways to get fired.

2. Being harsh to others

Being frustrated at the actions of other people is nearly impossible to dodge, especially in the ministry world. But allowing that frustration to bubble over in how you deal with people is definitely a way to find yourself cleaning out your office or cubicle.

3. Not working well with others

I picked up this book called The Equipping Pastor: A Systems Approach to Congregational Leadership, on sale at Goodwill for 50 cents and the one thing that it taught me more than anything is that you must figure out if you fit into the culture at the church. You sometimes hear leaders talking about a fear of losing herself or “the things that this place does to me” and act as if it’s the churches fault that they are different.

You need to figure out if you are going to fit into a culture or not. You can adapt and survive and change it over the LONG term or you can move on or move out. You can’t expect to change the whole culture of the church.

You must learn to understand the structure of authority and work within it. You must learn to work together and face conflict, speaking the truth in love.

Those are 3 of the ways that I think that get people fired in ministry fairly often.

 What’s missing in this list? Anything glaringly obvious? Any fun fired stories?

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J.C. Thompson is the 5th & 6th Grade Director at Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, SC, one of Outreach magazine’s Top 100 Largest Churches in America.