If you are currently serving in a paid or volunteer ministry position, I have question for you. Why did you go into ministry? If you think back to why you got involved, there is probably one or two reasons that stand out. You might even remember the time and place when you felt called to ministry. Do you ever wonder if those who quit ministry felt the same call as you did? If so, why did they quit ministry? According to the Christian Post, there are five primary reasons why people quit ministry.
#1 – Burnout
Burnout is common because people in the church world don’t know how to disconnect. We make ourselves available all the time, and when other people take control of your schedule, you will lose control of your life. You are not the savior of the world, Jesus is. Always remember this. I encourage leaders to set times to disconnect in order to recharge themselves. This can be hard to do, but we need to do it. If you don’t take time to recharge, nobody else will force you to.
At one point in my career I lost control of my schedule and let others fill it up for me. I paid the price with my health, my relationship with my wife suffered, I wasn’t there for my kids, and my real friends stopped calling me. My excuse was that I was committed to the ministry. It sounds godly but it isn’t healthy or realistic.
#2 – Unrealistic Expectations
Too many people have unrealistic expectations. They expect that everything they touch will turn to gold. At Freshwater we want to take risks. We want to rise to the challenge. At the same time, we want to let people know it’s OK to fail. You are not always going to plan and execute the perfect event. Every message will not be a home run. Every person you minister to will not turn their life around.
As a church we want to do the best we can, so we put pressure on ourselves to do this. In doing so, we need to be careful not to create unrealistic expectations for one another. This can result in internal conflict and leads to other problems.
#3 – Criticism
It hurts when someone cuts you down, especially if they are wrong our misinformed. Criticism can be helpful when it is given in love, but often times it is not given in love, it’s given to hurt and harm and spreads like a toxic poison.
Don’t let your critics dictate what you will do! Seek God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you are constantly responding to critics you won’t be able to respond to God. You must respond to those God has placed in your life who surround and protect you. When they offer criticism it is wrapped in love because they have your best interest in mind.
I weigh criticism. If it comes from a stranger through a text about a comment I made I don’t give it much weight. If it comes from a trusted friend, I give it a lot of weight. Don’t allow those who know you the least to control you the most.
#4 – Discouragement
Most church leaders deal with serious discouragement from time to time because they work with people and people can be discouraging! The enemy can discourage us, other people can discourage us, and we can even discourage ourselves.
You need to learn how to fill yourself and encourage yourself. I asked you why you got in ministry for this reason. Remember your first love. Remember why you accepted the call to ministry. If you forget why you were called, you will never remember it’s all about Jesus.
#5 – Losing Focus On God’s Power
If we start to believe that people will only come to church if everything is perfect, then we have lost sight of the fact that God draws them in. We are just the conduit that God uses. Yes, we need to give our best and yes, it’s all up to God. Never lose focus on God’s power. Even when you feel discouraged or feel like quitting.
Remember that Jesus died for the church because he loves the church. He doesn’t need you to fulfill His mission to make disciples, he wants you. He personally called you to ministry and wants you to know that what you are doing for His glory matters. So stay in the game! Stay strong, and stay focused. God is with you.
Resources: (http://www.christianpost.com/news/5-reasons-why-people-quit-the-ministry-46413/, accessed 8 May 2015)
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