Back in August I shared the news here on the blog about a big transition that we were making in our lives as I was stepping out of “vocational ministry”. It was this time last year that we began to actively pray and plan towards our transition, and now, being on the flip side of it a year later, I’ve been thinking some back through that period of time.
If you do a search on “leaving vocational ministry”, you won’t find a whole lot of helpful insights and articles online. There are some, but I guess for one reason or another the topic is just not widely blogged about. One of the gems I did find was written by Ron Edmondson. You can read the full blog post on his blog, but I wanted to share his thoughts on when it is time to leave a ministry position, an organization, a job, etc. Not all of these were applicable to my own situation, but several of them were really helpful to me.
- When your heart has left the organization and you don’t plan to stay permanently. Sometimes you have to reenergize 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.
- 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?”
- 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 twenty years which do you hope it will have been?
- When your mind starts working against the mission and vision of the organization. If you would rather see the place fails than succeed; it’s clearly time to go.
- 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.
- If the organization is venturing into immoral or unethical practices. Don’t get caught in the next news scandal.
- When you find yourself physically ill if work crosses your mind on the weekend (or when you are off work). If the emotional stress is greater than you can handle and you must protect your health over the career.
- 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.
From time to time I’ll be sharing some of the thoughts and resources I used and came across that were helpful in making the right decision. Quitting isn’t always the right decision nor should it be our first decision, but sometimes it is best to move on.
PS: I’m loving what I’m doing 🙂