So you’ve thought about leaving, haven’t you?
Thinking of leaving your current job is a fairly normal phenomenon. And yet in ministry, changing churches seems to happen faster than in many other occupations.
While statistics vary, most pastors stay 3 to 7 years in one place before moving on. In my view, that’s barely enough time to effect any change. And I doubt it’s long enough to bring about transformation.
What’s the difference between change and transformation? Simple. Transformed people never want to go back to the way it was.
My personal theory is that it takes 3-5 years to change a church. It takes at least 7 years to transform it.
For that reason alone, I have a bias toward staying in the same church for a long time. I’ve served in the same community with the same group of people for 21 years.
Should everyone stay that long?
Not necessarily. I’ve also seen leaders stay for years past their effectiveness in leadership. That’s a disaster for everyone.
So how do you know when you should stay in your current position in ministry, and when should you go?
My friends Kenny Conley and Sam Luce are also writing today on when it’s time to go.
Kenny Conley just left a major ministry in Austin, Texas. He shares some thoughts on why he left and insights into how he knew it was time to go in this post.
Sam’s been in the same place for 14 years and argues you ought to stay much longer than you might think.
Clearly, I’ve stayed for two decades in the same place. And I feel like I’m here indefinitely.
So would do you know it might be time to leave?
Here are 7 signs that would demonstrate to me it’s time to move on. If you see them in your situation, it might be time to go.
1. You’ve lost your passion
We all lose passion some days. Your passion might even disappear for a short season. It happens to all of us. That’s actually not a reason to move on.
Loss of passion might be a sign you’re burning out, or it could be that you need some rest or another adjustment. Moving to a new church won’t solve that kind of passion-loss. In fact, it might make it worse.
But one sign your time in a place could be drawing to a close is that you’re basically healthy but your passion for that particular ministry is gone.
You’re still passionate about life. You’re passionate about other things. You may even be passionate about other ministries or other opportunities.
It’s just your passion for ministry in that place and time has vaporized.
If that’s the case, it’s a sign the end may be near. Why?
Because a passionless leader is an ineffective leader.