- Jim Townsley
- Jan 13, 2014
It is easier to quit than to remain faithful, especially when you are facing trials and struggles. Quitting has a derogatory connotation to it and no one wants to be labeled a quitter. If you quit doing the will of God or quit before a task is completed you have failed the Lord. Perseverance requires character and determination. Quitters are a dime a dozen. However, leaving a church because it is the will of God is not a failure it is a duty. But, is there a proper time to leave a church or ministry? No one will stay in one place forever. There will come a time to leave. It is important to understand that God can and does call men to different places at different times according to His will and purpose.
Although quitting is normally considered a bad thing it can be difficult to know when to leave a ministry. There can be many reasons a church planter will move on. One good reason is that the church may be self-supporting and it is time to call a permanent pastor. While some men may start a church and stay for a lifetime others have the calling to start a church, help it to become self-supporting, and install a new man as the pastor while moving on to start another church.
Another reason a man may move on from a new church is he realizes his talents and gifts do not suit him for church planting or perhaps he recognizes he does not have the gift or ability to be a pastor. It is important to recognize that some men who try to start churches have not been called to do so and they may be ill-equipped to fulfill the role they have undertaken. Perhaps they even undertook the church plant with improper motives. Though it is commendable for anyone to start a church, a man's abilities may be stronger as an assistant, deacon, or working under the ministry of another pastor. As much as I would like every young man to start a church I realize there are some who would face certain disaster if they did so.
Timing is important in starting a church. Many preparations must be made when undertaking this challenging task. A man must be well prepared to start a church. Starting prematurely may result in too many problems to continue the services and a new start must be planned at a later date. Working closely with a home pastor and a reproducing church will better ensure that you are ready to begin. Anyone launching out on his own while ignoring godly counsel will likely face some difficult obstacles.
Other reasons to resign or stop services may include personal issues or family issues. It is better to save a marriage or wayward children than lose both your family and your church. In addition, health issues may cause a man to leave a ministry. It seems Satan specifically attacks church planters more severely than any other group of people. Many a preacher has prevailed through a personal illness, or even the death of his wife or a child, and persisted through very difficult circumstances. One must be careful not to leave a church prematurely because of illness, however, God can also use illnesses to redirect a man to a different ministry.
When the ministry is going well and yet it seems God is prompting you to leave and move on to another ministry it often is a better indication that God is in it than moving when things are going bad. Although leaving a ministry may be difficult, it may be worse to stay beyond the time God desires you to be there. It is no shame to leave under the proper circumstances.
Additionally, it is important to realize we are just men and men make mistakes. May we learn from our mistakes and failures so that they become stepping stones and not stumbling blocks. I know men who have left a ministry and they are so embarrassed and discouraged that they no longer are actively serving the Lord in any capacity. Don't let Satan rob you of your usefulness. Seek godly counsel and follow it. Return to your home pastor and draw from his wisdom. Determine to find God's highest calling for your life and follow it.