Staff, just like members, come and go in the normal rhythm of church life—20 percent of Americans move every year and that one factor alone affects all churches and staffs.
This may alarm or even scare other staff or members of your congregation. They may wonder, “What went wrong?” Was it a result of sin or incompetence or conflict? Yet, this is rarely the case. In Saddleback’s 21-year history only a very small handful of staff have left for negative reasons. Instead we rejoice as staff members step out in faith to follow God’s will into new areas.
Why Staff Leave:
1. A Stage of Life
Sometimes staff leave because of a change in their life or family: having a baby, kids entering school, spouse changing jobs or being transferred, having to care for an aged parent, getting married, needing greater income, going back to school or retirement. These are just a few of hundreds of valid stage-of-life reasons.
2. A Stirring of God
Sometimes staff leave simply because they sense God wants them to do something else! They feel a “stirring” or restlessness in their spirit, which often indicates that God has other plans in mind for them. Some people feel the pull of God to go to seminary full-time or get more education to prepare for future ministry.
Sometimes the stirring is circumstantial—the job they were hired to do is finished, or the job has changed due to the growth of the church, or the church has restructured and is moving in a new direction. God often has people “serve for a season” in order to benefit his church at that particular moment and also to teach and develop them.
The reality is that almost no one stays with the same job for his or her entire lifetime. In fact, one of the primary ways God teaches us to trust him is through job changes. If we never had to change, we’d never have to live by faith.
I like to use the illustration of the American Moon Project—thousands of engineers worked for NASA on different stages of the project. But when their part was finished they moved on.