“Therefore, we do not lose heart.” (II Corinthians 4:1,16)
From time to time I receive notes like this:
“I resigned from my church tonight. Just couldn’t take it any more. The bullying from a few strong men (or one family in particular) finally wore me out. So, I got good and fed up, and tonight I tossed in the towel and told them I was through. It feels good to walk away and leave all this stress behind. But now, I will be needing a place to move to, a way to support my family, and when the Lord is ready, a new church to pastor. Please keep me in mind if you know of a church in need of my services.”
Nothing about that feels right.
I want to call to my friend and say, “You resigned in a fit of temper or or a moment of discouragement? You walked away from the place God sent you? You quit a well-paying job without knowing where you will move your family or how you will support them? Have you lost your ever-loving mind?!”
I guarantee you the pastor’s wife is thinking these thoughts, no matter how loyally she supports her man and aches to see him struggling under such a heavy load.
I would like to say to every minister I know that unless you are sure the Holy Spirit inside you is saying, “this is the time, walk away now,” don’t do it. Do not resign abruptly or impulsively.
Here are 10 reasons not to quit and walk away even when to remain there is killing you:
1. God sent you. Stay until He says otherwise or until you are fired.
You may not be able to keep a church from firing you — some of the finest ministers on the planet have been terminated at one time or other — but if it’s up to you, stay until He tells you to leave.
So, pastor, you found the going to be tough, some of the leaders resistant, and a few members to be criminal in their behavior? You grew tired of fighting them and fed up with the way they treated you?
I have something to say to you, my friend.
No one said it was going to be easy, least of all the Lord who called you in the first place. Go back to Matthew 10 and read what He said to the early disciples, from verse 16 through the end of the chapter. Compare your situation with what they were facing, then apologize to Him for your belly-aching.
2. The church needs you to see them through this crisis.
There are good people in your congregation who need a shepherd.
If you walk away, you are abandoning them to the bullies who have been making your life miserable and ruling that church with a heavy hand.
If the bullies remain in place, the church will continue to be sick and stunted in its growth and ministries. Read Acts 20:28ff and notice that from the very beginning of the Lord’s church, it has been this way. Your church is not unusual. It may be sick, but if so, it needs a physician and that’s why you were sent. Stay with the patient.