Phil Wood is a church planter and pastor. He gives some practical advice on knowing when to stay or when to move on from your current ministry position:
1. First, this decision is easier if you know for certain that it was God who led you to where you are! A good rule of thumb is, Don’t move on until God’s leading is as strong or stronger than the leading that brought you where you are.
2. Along the same line, the Lord usually doesn’t lead you from something as much as He leads you to something. It is sound advice not to quit a job before you have a new one, nor should you leave a church unless the Lord has specifically led you to a new one. Bill Cosby is noted as saying, Don’t burn your bridges unless you have a boat.
3. Be godly in how you handle your disagreements. In reality, many people who leave a church to go to another do so because of conflict. People who learn to pull up stakes and retreat in the heat of the battle, however, violate all types of biblical guidelines for handling conflict. The Lord never called us to burn bridges or to leave His work in the hands of the ungodly. Not settling disputes only perpetuates unhealthy personal patterns and bad corporate behavior.
4. Be fair in how you leave. There is no need, especially if your tenure has been a positive experience, for things to end poorly. Repeatedly ask throughout the process, Now is there anything that I should take care of before I leave? and then reach back with, Was there anything that was not taken care of? Doing so can help you avoid many hard feelings or opportunities for gossip.
5. Take advantage of the insight of church leaders to help you before you make your decision. In a God-honoring, biblical church, pastors, elders, and deacons are there to help guide and serve both the congregation and the leadership . It is foolish to not consider their honest input as you make your decision. Telling someone, We have decided to leave; what do you think? is much different from asking, We are thinking about leaving; what is your advice?