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Shawn Lovejoy: Why I Resigned From Being "Lead" Pastor

resigned pastor

After much prayer and reflection, I have made a private decision I need to make public here today.

Effective immediately, I am resigning as the leader of our church. Why am I taking this drastic measure? The answer is simple: The challenges of leadership here are simply more than I can currently handle. It is difficult for me to admit, but I have been in over my head for some time now. I am inadequate to lead this church.

I simply cannot do it alone or be in charge any more. For a long time, I have carried the burden, the debt, the decisions, the pain and the weight of trying to lead this church to greatness.

I thought for a long time I could do it. I thought I could turn it around. I thought that I could help our church grow and reach more people. I thought I was capable of leading our team and our leaders in accomplishing our mission. I have worked hard to discipline and grow myself as a leader, preacher and visionary for our church.

More so than ever before, however, God has shown me that I am not the man for this job. For reasons like this, I have made the decision to resign.

All that being said, I have no plans to leave the church.

I just don’t want to be the leader anymore. My plan is to continue to serve here, and you will see me around. I may not be as visible, but I will be here. Don’t be alarmed by this course of action. When new leadership is securely in place, I covenant to you as a church family: I will follow His leadership.

In fact, I have no intentions of resigning from my actual position as lead pastor of our church. I am confident that God called me here for a purpose. I know for today that God has called me to be lead pastor of this church. Therefore, I am not resigning from my position as lead pastor.

I am simply resigning of any desire to be THE LEADER of this church.

That is not my rightful place as lead pastor. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, and I am accountable to live under His leadership and authority. I confess to you that this has often not been the case. I have usurped His authority. I have disobeyed His commands.

I have done what I wanted to do at the expense of what He has told me to do. For that, I am sorry. I have already repented to God. Today, I repent to you.

Another caution: This will not be my last resignation.

My tendency will be to try to take over God’s role in our church from time to time. I will unconsciously try to steal His glory and His position again. So I plan to make resignation as leader of this church more a daily practice in my life and ministry.

In fact, I think it will be important for all of us to remember that Jesus is the leader of our church. No matter how long we have been at this church or how long we have been Christians, I would be remiss not to admonish us all that none of us deserves to be in charge of His church. Honestly, there are some others among us who think they are. Others of us wish we were at times. For that, all of us need to repent.

This letter serves as notice that every single church leader that calls our church home needs to tender their resignations, as well.

None of us has a right to lead this church. None of us can hold on to leadership if we want our church to be successful. We all must resign from leadership. We have all held on to status, position and control too long.

This is not our church. It belongs to Jesus. We all will resign regularly as long as I am the lead pastor.

As you tender your resignations, let me encourage you by saying that every time I resign, the craziest thing happens: An amazing transformation happens in my life.

I feel liberated. My burdens feel lighter.

I feel a sense of incredible relief.

I feel relieved to know that I don’t have to be the change agent for people.

I feel relieved to know that I don’t have to envision the future for our church.

That’s His job. I feel relieved to know that I don’t have to make things happen through brilliant strategy, leadership or clever preaching. Life change and church growth is His job. I wish I had never taken that job away from Him. He is so much more capable than I am.

I’m sorry I ever took that role away from Him, as well.

I have resigned. I’ll keep on resigning, too. Why? So God can do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine in and through my life and build HIS church THROUGH me! If that sounds desirable to you, would you join me in tendering your resignation today?

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Shawn is the Founder & CEO of CourageToLead.com. His heart beats for coaching leaders and helping them all conquer what keeps them up at night. Shawn previously served as Founding and Lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church, and Directional Leader for churchplanters.com, and the annual Velocity Conference. Due to both demand and calling, Shawn has now devoted himself full-time to coaching leaders.