Another great guest post in the Rookie Pastor Paternity Leave series.
Michael Levitt is a regular around Rookie Pastor. Always participating in the community through commenting or social media, I’m thankful that he is sharing some of his experiences with you.
Invest in people.
I know that comment sounds Maxwellish, but when you take the time to genuinely invest in people in your life, you will receive an abundant life.
As someone that’s lived in 3 different states and Ontario, Canada. I’ve had the opportunity to join and subsequently leave different ministry opportunities. Leaving is hard, especially if you’ve invested your time, soul, blood, sweat, tears, blisters, etc. in a church. People will miss you, and your work (hopefully in that order ;-)
Here’s some tips to leave a ministry well:
1. Be open and communicate on why you’re leaving.
I’ve left organizations (both by my choice, and by their choice) and in the instances where I was let go, my former colleagues often were not given any reason why I was no longer around. This is a breeding ground for rumors, second guessing, etc. Typical soap opera/magazine rack materials. Be sure to communicate with all the channels/power brokers/etc as to why you are leaving the ministry.
2. Hand off well.
Be sure to document what you’ve done in your ministry, so your replacement has a good launching point. I’ve had too many experiences where I’ve replaced someone, and there was no road map. While this allows for creativity on your part, it would be nice to at least have some guidance on where to begin, what’s in process, and so forth.
3. Be generous with your thanks.
Being in ministry is a blessing. Yes, there are days (ok, weeks/months/years) that it can be stressful, but remember being in ministry is a call from God. Be thankful for your opportunity to serve.
When we moved from Amherstburg, Ontario to Toronto, Amherstburg Community Church threw us a goodbye party. I still tear up about the generosity and love that church kicks out on a daily basis. My family served there in a variety of ways, and they were very helpful in 2009, when I was recovering from a medical procedure. My rehab was through serving there, which has shaped me to the person I am today.
As I wrote earlier, leaving is hard. Hearts are broken, because if you’re serving our God with a cheerful spirit, people long to be part of that.
The best way to leave a ministry well, is to serve that ministry well, no matter how long you’re there.
Michael Levitt is a Director of Corporate Services for a not-for-profit organization in Toronto, Ontario. Michael also serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Toronto, and is a Director of Outreach for New Creation Church in Toronto. Michael is married to Jennifer, and they have 3 daughters.