Tag Archive - calling


How do you know when it’s time to Leave your Church?

Most people don’t stay at one place of employment their entire lives. If you work at a church, chances are you probably won’t work at that church the rest of your life. Most likely at some point you’re going to leave to go and start or work at another church.

There are all kinds of reasons why church staff leave the church they work at to go work another church. Some of those reasons are solid and make a lot of sense. Some of them as you could guess, not so much.

If you’re a church staff member and you’re trying to figure out if you should stay or if it’s time to go, here are a couple of principles you should keep in mind.

God’s Direction

I’ve said this many times before both in writing blog posts on staffing and personally 1-on-1 to church staff members. If you know God is calling you to something else, then that’s a great reason to leave a church. But you better be pretty sure that it was God you heard talking and not the pizza you had at 2:00am before you start waving around the, “it’s God will,” card.

You’re Asked to Leave

If you’re asked to leave your church staff job for whatever reason from downsizing, restructuring, poor fit, or poor performance you can be pretty sure that’s a good reason to leave a church.

Ongoing Conflict

It’s difficult to give your all to a church and be “all-in” when you don’t get along with the people you work with. Just because it’s a church doesn’t mean every personality will be able to work with every other personality. I’ve seen some staff stay too long at a church in an effort to “live at peace with all men,” thinking they’re ungodly if they can’t figure out how to work with everyone. It’s probably naïve to think you’ll be able to get along with everyone or work for anyone. It’s important to remember that relational and cultural chemistry matters.


Sometimes I’ve seen staff leave their current church because they’ve grown and they’re ready for a new challenge or greater responsibility, but their current church is unable to provide that challenge or opportunity.

Don’t Respect the Leadership

If you don’t respect the leader you’re serving under and you can’t, in good conscience, submit to their authority then it’s time to leave.

Don’t Agree with the Vision

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation. Someone (usually in a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th chair role) thinks that God has called them to speak for the Lord and help their poor Lead Pastor understand that it is time for the vision to change because they don’t agree with it. And they are just the person who has come down off of the mountain with the new blueprint for where the church should go next. Or on the other hand the vision is so unclear that people have a hard time understanding how to define success in their job, which leads to frustration, which leads to burnout. Either route you take you end up with a lot of frustration and an eventual job change.

The first two reasons (God’s direction and you’re asked to leave) are super clear and no brainer indicators that’s it’s time to go. The other four are not as easy to figure out. They can be indicators that it’s time to go or they can be excuses that you make to yourself that it’s time to go. You have to discern which it is.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


3 Reasons it’s Good for Church Staff Members to Leave their Church

Through coaching and consulting relationships I’ve had the privilege to work with a lot of Church Staff out there in church-world. One of the more common questions I’m asked by Church Staff Members is, “How do I know when it’s time to leave my church?”

It’s not always a simple straightforward conversation, it’s complicated and often nuanced. And it’s never a decision that should be made lightly. Truth is, there are probably a lot of reasons a Church Staff Member might leave a church. Some of them are valid; some of them are not so valid. But if you’re a Church Staff Member and you’re considering leaving your church, below are three great places to start in the conversation.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation. Someone on the church staff is frustrated due to the lack of vision at the church or they don’t agree with the vision and they feel that it’s their job to challenge the leadership and point out their flawed ways. If as a church staff member you can’t get on board with the vision of the church or there is such a lack of clarity of vision that it’s leading to a deep level of frustration then it’s time to find a leader and a vision to follow that you believe in.

God’s Call

If you’re sure that God is calling you to something else, then that’s a fantastic reason to leave a church. But before you start waving around the “God’s will card,” you better be sure that it was God’s voice you heard talking and not that pizza you had last night at 1:00am.

Loss of Trust

If for some reason you lose trust in the leaders that you’re following, or if they lose trust in you it can make it exceptionally difficult to remain on staff at that church. Trust is the fuel that leadership runs on. When it’s eroded you can forfeit the right to lead or be led. And while most will contend that trust is earned, it’s actually something that someone chooses to give.

Posted in Leadership, Staffing


The Difference between a Church Planter & a Campus Pastor

I’ve written previously about the newest Staff role in church-world, the Campus Pastor. Ever since the multisite movement has begun to gain momentum, churches across the nation have been searching high and low to find their next Campus Pastor. I’ve heard some church leaders even blame the multisite movement for an apparent increased difficulty in finding Church Planters. Essentially stating that instead of Church Planting, up and coming church leaders are opting to become a Campus Pastor instead of planting a church.

I’m not really buying it though. When it comes to recruiting a Church Planter or a Campus Pastor you’re looking for two very different people with two different sets of gifts.

Campus Pastor:

1. Developer: They’re great at developing people. They know how to identify potential in people and enjoy spending their time investing in others. People respond to their coaching and their performance improves because of it.

2. Leader: They know how to lead from here to there. They can position the staff to succeed, meet goals, and integrate calendars, budgets, and the ministries on their Campus in a manner that moves the Campus towards the vision.

3. Implementer: Great Campus Pastors makes things happen. They may not come up with the idea, but they can execute the idea. They know how to see ideas through from concept to completion.

Church Planter:

1. Calling: Great Church Planters possess a distinct calling from God to go and start something new. It’s not merely a career opportunity but deep sense of spiritual direction from God that they tenaciously grab hold of.

2. Visionary: They’re not simply a dreamer. Yes, they can see a preferred future, but at the same time they are wise enough to leverage the current moment to move people towards that future.

3. Entrepreneur: They are wired up to start new things. They are opportunity oriented, embrace risk, and are comfortable with the amount of ambiguity that comes with starting something new.

What other unique differences have you observed when it comes to Campus Pastors and Church Planters?

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


How do You Know if You’re Called to Ministry?

Working with young leaders, one of the most common questions I find myself fielding is, “How do I know if I’m called to ministry?” And while there are some good biblical verses we could point to or theological answers that could be given I’d like to get very practical with you for a moment. If you take the time to ask, and listen, to the stories of people who have been called into full time Christian Ministry you’re likely to hear some very similar responses that generally include the following four components.

#1 Deep Sense of Burden or Passion

A calling to ministry typically begins with a deep sense of burden or passion. It’s this idea that something is wrong, someone needs to do something about it, and maybe that someone is me. I can remember my own calling to ministry beginning this way as a young teenager. I felt a deep sense of responsibility and burden for the spiritual wellbeing of my friends (even though my lifestyle was ironically in no condition to do much about it). I can remember praying at night before sleep, in tears begging God to use me to influence thousands of people for Him. I also felt compelled through those prayer times that God didn’t just want my “heart”, or even my career, but my life.

#2 Ministry Experimentation

The typical next step that a calling to ministry takes is actually experimenting with ministry through volunteering and discovering your gifting and place in the Body of Christ. I was 17 years old and scared to death when my Pastor asked me to lead a Jr. High Sunday School Class. What would I teach, would they listen to me, could I do it, could I keep those unruly Jr. Highers under control?

#3 Affirmation by the Church

Who knew that Jr. High Sunday School Class would actually go well? I know, shocking right? But it did go well and people began to believe in me, and that God could use me. And I began to believe it too. Other leaders in the Church, particularly my Pastor recognized and affirmed God’s call to ministry in my life.

#4 Preparation and Training

The final component that you’ll regularly hear from those who have been called to ministry is that they experience a period of training and development that prepares them for full time Christian work. For me this would mean going to college (that is after a short 2 year stop at Jr. College to get my grades up and my Associates Degree…I thought I had better things to do in High School than go to High School) getting a Christian education, formal biblical training, mentoring and internships.

Even though I didn’t list them here I’m interested in some verses or biblical suggestions that you’d recommend young leaders consider when trying discover if they’re called to ministry? I’d love your input so leave a comment!

Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation