Is it time to leave your current ministry position or church job? What a tough time in the life of a pastor! It’s not easy to leave the people you love, even when you know that you are doing the right thing. Whether stepping down for a sabbatical or moving on to a new assignment, leaving your children’s ministry takes some finesse because ultimately, you want to leave it better than it was.
I have worked in children’s ministry for almost twenty years and had the privilege of working in a handful of places. At my last assignment, I stayed for twelve years. For many of those kids, I was there from day one, literally. During my last ministry transition, I remembered a few important lessons that I learned along the way. If you are in transition, maybe these will help you too.
1. Be cognizant of the time. I have found that with God, it’s better to be obedient than intellectual. (Meaning, you won’t understand God’s big chess game, although I do like to try.) When He says it is time to go, you should go. Listen carefully and leave when you are released. It’s important not to stay too long or leave to early. Pray about the timing! You may be ready to leave long before it is time to leave or never want to leave.
2. Inform the senior pastor or administrator. You don’t want to leave the children’s ministry without a teacher. As soon as you know for sure that you are on the way out, talk to your pastor. Ask how much time he needs to prepare. Be prepared here though. Some churches like their pastors to make a speedy exit or they may ask you to stay on for another two months. Whatever the case may be, be upfront and honest but your intentions.
3. Don’t scatter any seeds that you don’t want a harvest from. You probably aren’t leaving because of any sour grapes but that won’t quench the speculation. If your pastor asks you to keep quiet about the move then do so. Regardless of the church’s policy on transition, always speak well about your leaders. Sow seeds of love, not discord. Bad seeds always come back to bite you.
4. Refuse to burn bridges. It’s better to leave a door open than permanently close one. Be kind with your words and deeds. Always leave on good terms.
5. Always leave it better than you found it. You know it is a good transition when you won’t be missed! Good leaders train the next generation all along the way so when you do have to move, you won’t upset the apple cart. Think about ways you can improve the ministry before you leave it.
I know this is a tough subject but it is one that needs to be talked about. Transition and obedience are a part of ministry and we must obey the Lord when He directs us. Let excellence be the hallmark of your ministry, even during transitional times.
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.
If you’re struggling right now, don’t forget about these encouraging articles on our website:
- Do You Get Discouraged In Children’s Ministry?
- How to Come Back from Burnout in Ministry
- 5 posts to encourage your in ministry
- The Calling Poem about Ministry to Children