5. Let go of ownership.
You are no longer in charge. You may be tempted to still influence it from afar. Guard against that.
6. Pray that God would bless the ministry.
And even more with the new leader who replaces you.
1 Kings 1:37 — May the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, and may God make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!
7. Grieve well.
Change brings loss. You will lose familiarity, relationships and influence even as you gain those in your new ministry. Don’t be surprised if you grieve.
The Apostle Paul grieved when he left the church at Ephesus for the last time.
Acts 20:35-38 — In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
Years ago, I heard a talk by Ellen Goodman about leaving well. This quote captures the spirit of a leader who wants to exit church gracefully.
“There is a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out.
This article on how tyo exit church gracefully originally appeared here, and is used by permission.