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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Over to you. Keep it real.
What causes you to feel burned-out? What solutions have worked for you?
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.
In part three of this series, I hope we can be better worshipers and leaders through understanding Worship and Psychology .
First and foremost, our mindset must be theologically saturated through a living relationship with God’s word and His presence. This is a foundational prerequisite and it gives us a glimpse of heaven’s perspective.
Next, since we lead people, we must develop empathy for those we are leading in order to become good shepherds. Hence this study.
I encountered something in God’s word today that stirred my heart and I want to share it with you.
I have a question.
Do you ever feel like a hired hand performing a gig?
The sheer technology and pressure of leading worship can be a heavy burden, skewing the focus of your heart and mind as you lead.
Today’s typical worship leader wears a lot of hats.
Picking songs, arranging music, rehearsing and directing the music team, working out vocal harmonies, making it flow, teaming with the pastor, engaging with the congregation, encouraging them to participate, organizing schedules, communicating with team members, coordinating media, making sure the lyrics are projected right, calling 11 drummers trying to find a sub at the last minute, hey tune your guitar ,…. oh man I get so overwhelmed just writing this list!
There is one primary role though, that the best worship leaders embrace.
This post may be of particular interest to writers, bloggers, artists, and small businesses owners. It’s about tribes and the upcoming Killer Tribes conference. At the end of this post is info on getting a reduced rate.