Friday, February 01, 2008
How to Leave a Ministry Well.
The L.E.A.V.E. principle Updated.
Duffy Robbins in his book, Youth Ministry Nuts & Bolts cites on page 261 what he calls the Leave Principle …. When to leave a ministry:
Lack of Personal Growth.
Expenses exceed income (Not enough income to support my family)
A breakdown in relationships (among staff, students, parents)
Vision has ceased
Evidence that God is leading elsewhere.
The author also cites 4 reasons for not leaving a ministry due to plateaus, problem people, financial dissatisfaction and hurt feelings.
So after much soul searching and consideration, you have decided to leave your current ministry and move onto the next ministry. The question the becomes how or what do I do to leave well and tell everyone? Here are some suggestions to help you in that transition time.
1. What does your contract say about how far in advance of notice do you give?
2. Write a well written and thoughtful resignation letter. Keep a copy for your records.
3. Write down who you need to communicate your decision to in order: Senior pastor, elder board, sponsors, friends, parents, youth and congregation. (also get input from your leadership the best way to communicate this news)
4. Take an inventory of items left to be done and any unfinished business and have written out what items are yours to take with you to the next ministry and what stays etc.
5. Write a letter of evaluation and focus for the next youth leader to have. Things like what good places in the area helped you out. News info. Job descriptions. Contact info. Accounts. Curriculum used. Local camps etc. Be as thoughtful or as creative as possible. Avoid slamming or giving advice on “certain people.” Others may see this and come back to haunt you.
6. Have an opportunity to personal say goodbye to everyone –whether that is to visit everyone in their home or having an open house etc. Closure is a good thing.
7. Get the unfinished business out of the way. If you have commitments try to fulfill them as good as possible. Let the other organizations you are involved with know you are transitioning from one position to another. Update your mailing address.
8. On your last Sunday enjoy the moment. Cry. Pray. Say Thanks. Keep it positive – even if you weren’t treated that way, it will say much to your integrity and reputation.
9. Leave. Leave for awhile. Let there be time between you and the church. Don’t hang around too long or visit often until there has been time for people to process you are gone and it is ok to return.
I’ve had some good ministries I’ve left and returned after being asked as a speaker – and finding out I had caused some pain in my leaving and other ministries – I’ve never been back. Evaluate but allow time in the transition before deciding to visit again.
10. Enjoy your new ministry. Let God continue to move His people forward in transition. Take time to reflect, pray, evaluate and learn along the journey. Share with other youthworkers’ your transition experience and how it could have been better or how well it went. There have been many youthworkers’ transitions that have gone wrong because of bad decisions or the way it was handled on part of both the church leadership and the youth worker themselves. Hopefully the above items will help to make a good transition even better.
How to Choose a Youth Pastor – Paul Borthwick
Things They Never Taught You About Youth Ministry That you Really Need to Know – Todd Clark
Youth Ministry Nuts and Bolts – Duffy Robbins.
Others you would add?