There are many reasons why it may be time to step down from your role in ministry. This could be at your initiative or it could be due to undesired external circumstances.
In my own journey, there were a few times when basically, it was my choice. I had finished my assignment and it was time to move on. But there was one time when leaving was not my choice, and that was oh so painful.
Nevertheless, once the decision has been made to leave, for your own benefit and for the benefit of the kingdom of God, I urge you to determine in your heart to “finish well”.
Worship ministry is a high calling. Sadly it can also have a dark side.
The faithful man or woman of God should make it his priority to serve the Lord to the best of their ability.
Nothing is forever. There will be a time when you are done. When that moment comes, make it your goal to finish well.
How to finish well.
1. First, decide.
Decide you’re going to finish well, and then do everything within your power to make it so. It really is your choice how you handle it.
If you are leaving for a better opportunity, then be a blessing to those you are leaving. Speak well of the church you are leaving.
If you are suffering a “forced termination”, it is tempting to get bitter and feel as if the call of God on your life has been rejected.
Re-frame that story. That’s what Joseph did, “what was meant for evil God has used for good” Genesis 50:20.
God is for you, not against you. He will work it out for good. Believe what you can not see.
2. Think about your legacy.
Begin with the end in mind. If you have invested in your people, hopefully you will see good fruit.
I have a personal goal to hear these words. “Well done good and faithful servant” Matthew 25:21
Be honorable. Do everything you can to leave the place better than you found it.
3. Be a peace maker.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
If there’s a political battle going on, do not feed into it.
If you’ve been dealt an unjust deal, let it go. Let God fight your battles.
You may have a sizable following in the church. Don’t misuse that good will. Don’t torch the church on your way out.
4. Be a blessing.
We are blessed to be a blessing. Try to setup your successors for success.
“Bless those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
Take the high road. Point people to Christ and do things the Jesus way.
Do not participate in nor encourage strife, contentiousness or division.
Do your best and trust God for the outcomes in your life and ministry.
5. Finally, tell the truth.
It is a tricky thing to “speak the truth in love”. Sometimes there is a lot of “spin” going on in church world.
You can and should keep confidentialities. Be diplomatic, tactful, discrete, sensitive and selfless.
Not everybody needs to know everything. You can be more disclosing with a handful of those closest to you, and less so with those who are not.
But don’t lie. It will haunt you.
Finally, here are some great resources I suggest you check out.
There are some dark sides to ministry that are not discussed in a very open manner.
One is burnout.
First I should say that my soul is in pretty good shape right now and I’m not dealing with burn out personally.
But I’ve seen a lot of it over the years. And I know a lot of worship folk go through it.
Burnout can happen for a number of reasons in any occupation. It is “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.”
The nonstop nature of ministry with it’s high demands and even higher expectations is a recipe for burnout.
Worship folk, generally speaking, also tend to be more of the artistic/creative types. We have more sensitive psyches to begin with.
Some of the pressure points in worship ministry include:
Pressure to perform.
Comparisons to __________ that are impossible to match up to.
Church politics, especially the kind leave you feeling rejected.
Being overworked and underpaid, if you’re paid at all.
Lack of appreciation. This could be from your pastor, your congregation and/or your teammates.
Conflict. This causes a lot of stress. Could be over song selections, styles, relationships.
Add to this the internal angst we put on ourselves to do a good job, try to be musically excellent, and have our congregations engage.
When it’s all too much, too often people crash, melt down and do things they really regret.
Don’t let that happen to you.
I think the church in general has a very serious problem. We tend to shoot our wounded and treat those who serve as expendable.
This is a shame.
The answer is not in simplistic religious Christian clichés.
The answer is to do the work of the ministry in healthy, not unhealthy ways. Actually that’s a huge subject. More about that in another post.
Here’s a couple soul care remedies that have been personally helpful to me.
1. Rest and take a break.
One trap a lot of us fall into is the “I can’t take a break” mentality.
If you died they’d have to get somebody else to lead worship or find some other way. Go there.
Whether it is half of a day or a week, schedule some time off.
2. Get good counsel.
Get whatever you need, whether talking it out with trusted friends (which can be next to impossible sometimes), a peer who’s doesn’t have a stake in your ministry, or a professional psychological counselor.
A lot of healing comes just from speaking the truth, or at least the truth as you are experiencing it.
Listen to a voice outside of your sphere and get an objective perspective.
So, how are you doing? I’d love to hear form you on this. Talk to me in the comments or send me an e-mail, email@example.com
Over to you. Keep it real.
What causes you to feel burned-out? What solutions have worked for you?
You will never leave me
I know You will never forsake me
And even when I can’t see You – I know that You’re there
And even when I can’t feel You – I know that You care
And when my heart is shattered and broken
Your ways seem a mystery
Still I believe you’ll never abandon me
Cause I’m never alone, never alone through the dark night of the soul, I’m never alone I’m never alone, never alone through the dark night of the soul, I’m never alone You hold me ,you surround me, with the sound of Your love I’m never alone, never alone, never alone, never alone I’m never alone, never alone, never alone, never alone
I know you’ll never leave me
I know you’ll never forsake me
I know you will never abandon me
I’m never alone, never alone, never alone, never alone
I’m never alone, never alone, never alone, never alone
You will never leave me
Copyright 2001/2011 Rob Still /Rob Still Music (ASCAP)
All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.
Note: HAPPY 2013 Ya’ll! Here’s an updated re-post on goal setting.
At this time of year many people reflect, refine and reset their goals. God is keenly interested. He desires to be at the center of our hopes, dreams, goals and plans.
Setting goals is essential to happiness and successful living.
The Bible has a ton of insight on goal setting. Here are 3 biblical principles to consider as you go about making this year the best one possible.
1. Expect the best.
God cares and has a positive outcome in mind.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11
The context of this promise? Israel was a conquered people, living in exile, and all hope seemed lost. Essentially God said – “bloom where you are planted.”
No matter what circumstance the beginning of this year finds you, know that God has your best interest in His heart.
2. Get a vision from God.
Align your plans and dreams with God’s.
Where there is no prophetic vision, the people perish, but happy is he that keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18
The only way life works is when our vision is shaped by God’s vision. This is a prophetic gift of the Holy Spirit, and it applies for both the short term and long term.
Maybe you started this year full of eager, hopeful expectation. Or maybe it’s been launched in disappointment and burn-out. You may ask “where are you God, and what do You want?” The psalmist certainly did many times.
The answer, understanding, is found in the Word of God and the Spirit of God. It begins by engaging the word of God. It is living and active and full of wisdom and direction. Then we find revelation in the presence of God, which is His Holy spirit.
How? “Be still and know.” Listen to that still small voice.
3. Write it down.
And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may be able to read it easily and quickly as he hastens by. Habakkuk 2:2
Aim at nothing and you’re sure to hit it every time.
I’ve been a goal setter for most of my life. So many were obtained by simply by writing them down.
Written goals are a catalyst for good things to happen. It’s simple:
Write it down as clearly and specifically as possible.
Break down the steps.
Make a plan.
Boom, down the road you can look back at the things you accomplished that you never imagined possible.
Question: Do you set goals? Name one for 2013 in the comments.
This was cool because I had been inspired to write this post after listening to his fantastic podcast on the topic“The Importance of the Leaders Heart”. If you’re in any kind of leadership role, I highly recommend listening to it.