Over the last several years, I have had numerous conversations with great leaders who are struggling to stay in their current ministry assignment.
Though not perfect, these leaders have faithfully led, have remained above reproach, and have enjoyed significant impact in their respective ministries. They are well-respected, serve in churches that are generous to the staff, lead healthy churches, and are in a good rhythm in their ministries.
Thus, many would be surprised to know that these leaders have wrestled with staying, that they have considered leaving.
I have always kept each conversation confidential. Because the conversations have been numerous and over a lengthy period of time, I feel I can share some observations without jeopardizing the confidentiality of those who have confided in me.
My goal is not really to offer solutions in this post but to say, “You are not alone,” to those who are struggling to stay.
Here are four common reasons great leaders are struggling to stay.
1. Sense of stewardship
Each leader has a profound sense that this one life is a vapor, that our ministries are really short. Thus, each leader wants to know that he is making the best use of the limited time the Lord has graciously given.
When other opportunities are presented, these leaders have wondered, “Will I make a bigger impact in this new opportunity? Will this be better stewardship of the one life that I have to offer the Lord?”
Many feel they likely have “one more run” in them in this life, and they want to be convinced they are in the right place for that run.
Because these leaders have established strong ministries with good systems and rhythms, some are a bit bored. They struggle to admit it because it can sound like their love for people, ministry, preaching or leading a team has waned.
In reality, their love has not waned. They are just wired for new challenges.
In my conversations with these pastors, I have challenged them to find a big need in the city or in the church to solve.