(Editor’s Note: Staying or leaving a ministry is serious business. This article offers some examples that could validate a change. Ultimately, the Spirit speaks and leads and the believer listens and discerns. Be diligent to listen to the right spirit as you look at your own situation.)
How do you know when it’s time to leave an organization or company? Sometimes, it’s more damaging to stay than to quit. Recently, I was asked to help a friend think through his own decision of whether to stay or to leave his current position. The following are some times to consider leaving. I think these may apply if you are an employee, volunteer or sometimes even a church member.
1. When your heart has left the organization and you don’t plan to stay permanently. Sometimes, you have to re-energize your heart. If you are in a marriage, for example, you have to find a way to make it work. If you are working for an organization, you shouldn’t harm the organization by staying when you no longer have a heart for the mission. If you’ve quit having fun, don’t make life miserable for everyone else.
2. When you can’t support the leadership and the leadership is firmly planted. You need to know who the power brokers in your organization are. It’s nearly impossible to change the organization working against that ingrained power structure. Ask yourself, “If it’s always going to be like this around here, would I be content staying?”
3. When your family or personal life is suffering because of the demands of the organization. If you have to neglect one of them, your career or your family, in 20 years, which do you hope it will have been?
4. When your mind starts working against the mission and vision of the organization. If you would rather see the place fail than succeed, it’s clearly time to go.
5. When your relationship with co-workers or leadership is damaged beyond repair. You should try to work out these differences, but when it is obvious the relationship cannot be mended, it may be time to move on. Life’s too short to be that miserable.
6. If the organization is venturing into immoral or unethical practices. Don’t get caught in the next news scandal.
7. When you find yourself physically ill if work crosses your mind on the weekend (or when you are off work). If the stress is greater than you can handle emotionally, protect your health over the career.
8. You are no longer pulling your weight. For whatever reason, whether it’s because you’ve given up, you are bored or just can’t keep up, if you are dragging down productivity and you don’t have the incentive to improve, perhaps it’s time for a change in your workplace.
Please understand. I’m not a quitter. I believe, however, that the times described above are not always to be viewed as negative experiences. Sometimes, God uses the difficult experiences of life to draw us to Him and to open our eyes to the next opportunity He has for us. I would have never made some of the moves I’ve made in life that I know now were of God had it not been for my miserable situation at the time.