Post written by Andrew Larson
It’s that magical time of year again, job hunting season! The job boards at church staffing and youth specialties are blossoming like a spring meadow. Churches looking to gain momentum heading into the summer are trying to lock down their staffs. Some are pruning back for efficiency, and others are hoping to add a free agent or two. People about to graduate form college or seminary are scrambling to make sure they can make their first student loan payment. The weird game of ministry musical chairs is on. In the last 2 weeks I have filled out reference forms for 3 youth pastor friends looking into new jobs, I have helped write or revise resumes for 2 of my buddies, and I have received half a dozen emails from different alumni associations or national ministry organizations asking if I want to update my resume that they have had on file for several years. As green as the grass is looking everywhere, we must ask ask ourselves “should I stay or should I go.”
This time last year I was scrambling. My church was going through a transition in leadership, and I was trying to discern what God had next for me and my family. I left. I moved into a lead pastor role and am heading up a church revitalization in my home town. There is a freedom in knowing that I am not going anywhere this year (and in knowing that my job is secure). But what if you don’t know what you are doing yet? What are a few things to mull over if you aren’t sure if you’re staying or going?
I know first hand that we don’t always get to decide if we stay or go, but if you are fortunate enough to get a say in the next chapter of your ministry, these are metrics that I use when evaluating my job.
Here are some reasons I think you may need to keep your job:
Calling- If God has uniquely called you to your students and/or your church, you may need to stay.
Family- If your family is thriving at your church, and your families needs are being met, you may need to stay.
Giftedness- If you have a job that utilizes the things you are good at, you may need to stay.
Challenge- If you are still challenged in your current role, you may need to stay.
Team- If you love the team you are working with, and how you fit and click with them, you may need to stay.
Effectiveness- If your work is producing the results you are striving for, you may need to stay.
Goals- If your current position is helping, or will help, you achieve your long term ministry goals and aspirations, you may need to stay.
Here are some reasons I think you should quit your job:
Calling- If God is calling you towards anything other than your current role, you may need to go.
Family- If your church is not a healthy place for your family, you may need to go. (Additionally, I regularly tell friends in ministry that they should never feel guilty for pursuing a full time position when they are in a part time one.I completely get that some of us need to be part time/bi-vocational, but our first ministry is to our families. If you are working 70 hours a week to make ends meet, you probably aren’t being much of a spouse or prent. I am not talking about the difference in a few thousand dollars if you go to the church down the street, but I am talking about the difference in working one job with a benefits package and working two or three and always scrambling to pay bills.)
Giftedness- If you are terrible at your job, and you know it, you may need to go.
Challenge- If you aren’t ever challenged in your current role, you may need to go.
Team-If you don’t like the team you are working with, and can tell that you are the odd man out, you may need to go.
Effectiveness- If your work is never producing the results you are striving for, you may need to go.
Goals- If you current position is not helping or will not help, you achieve your long term ministry goals and aspirations, you may need to go.
I know that these factors are in no way comprehensive, but they are the questions I have asked myself each time I have tried to decide if I should stick it out or move on. So what do you use to determine if you should stay or if you should go?