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Current Events, Current Events, Ministry Briefing
Check out this story from this week’s edition of Ministry Briefing.
In a poll by Lifeway research, former pastors were asked to list the top 5 reasons that they left the pastorate. A change in calling, conflict within their church and burnout were at the top of the list. “Almost half of those who left the pastorate said their church wasn’t doing any of the kinds of things that would help” said executive director Ed Stetzer.
Click here to read the full article from Lifeway Research. Some of the findings from this research include: 
  • Trouble begins early  with 48 percent of the former pastors saying the search team didn’t accurately describe the church before their arrival.
  • 40% reported a change in calling
  • 35%  had a conflict in the church
  • 19% experienced burnout
  • 12% said personal finances played a role
  • 12% reported family issues
Why does this matter?
  • Unhealthy churches lead to unhealthy pastors, and vice-versa
  • Churches need to develop the systems to support pastors early on in order to sustain their ministry
  • Isolation, lack of boundaries, and a lack of clarity on expectations lead to an early flame out

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Leadership
Teresa Griffith writes:  Sometimes, we can feel particularly paralyzed about making a decision, and can end up postponing and procrastinating on it until it is “made for us.” This is a terrible cop-out; even when you choose not to make a decision, you are making it anyway. Leaving something to fate is not as random as you think — and stepping back from the act of deciding makes you feel out of control, passive, and disempowered. You might even avoid a decision so you can play the victim later, a role that is never proactive or helpful for your personal growth. keep reading
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It’s the time you dread… when it’s time to leave your church job. Sometimes it’s because you feel God is moving you on, and you’re excited about the next chapter. Other times you leave out of despair, hurt… and sometimes for your own sanity. But how do you leave well?  With Honesty? And Grace?  No matter the situation? Josh Griffin has the following advice: Leave at the right time It isn’t always possible, but leaving at a natural break is best. The end of summer is ideal but not always possible. But even more than leaving at the right time in the calendar, pray through leaving at the right time in the church culture as well. Stay too long after you know you’re done and it’ll be painfully obvious, leave too soon and blindside people. Make the transition short I understand the need for a transition time to help prepare students or ensure a peaceful exchange of leadership – but there’s nothing worse than a “lame duck” who is out but still in. Pray through the timing of your announcement and the timing of your last day – typically I wouldn’t put these more than a month or two apart at the most. Protect the pastor Don’t cause division in the church – you will only hurt God’s body and leave students and volunteers hurt in the crossfire of departure. Know that God will use that church for His glory, even if you are no longer a part of the leadership. You can’t leave perfectly, but you can minimize damage by controlling your tongue (and ears for that matter). Leave better not bitter Take a long hard look at yourself. Don’t jump right into your next position. Take some time to get alone and debrief with your spouse or mentor and get alone with God. Leaving is tough on a church; know that it will leave some scars on you, too. Leaving better means choosing not to divide the church, to walk away … and to work on what God reveals to you in the process. Read more here… What would YOU add to Josh’s list? Todd
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Staffing
EverythingPastor writes, “How do you leave something that you love? That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the past couple of weeks. On October 4th, I put in my 60 day notice at my church. I’ve been here four years and have loved every step of the way. We had always assumed that we would be at Greenwood forever, but about six months ago, God became to change our hearts and as a result we feel he’s re-ignited our passions for missions and church planting. We were always planning to church plant, we just thought that we be overseas and not in America. It’s been such a growing process for our family. Now that our decision is public, we have to deal with everything that comes from resigning from a ministry. Here are his bullet points: 1.  Think about who to tell first 2.  Expect to be a lame duck 3.  Let Go 4.  Tell those you care about how you feel 5.  Leave the bridges entact 6.  Prepare the way for the next person Take a read here. As you’ve left ministries and jobs over the years, what have been the most important things you would add to this list? What mistakes have you made in ministry job transitions? I’d love to hear.  Leave a comment below; and share this post with your friends using the buttons below as well…
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Trends
According to an online poll from Crosswalk.com, 34% of people who attend church leave because of a lack of personal connections there.  18% left because they felt unwelcomed. And why do people stay?  53% say because of the friendships they’ve established at the church. Other reasons for leaving:  relocation, poor church leadership, theological differences. Keep in mind that this was an ‘online survey’.  No word on how many people responded (it could have been 10).  And it’s definitely not scientific. Here’s YOUR assignment for today: Get out a piece of paper and number it from one to five.  List the last five people that have left your church.  Then next to each name, list why. Do you even know? Should you? If you’d like… share your list of ‘why’s for your last five here in the comment section.  Does this study match what you found? More here:  Crosswalk.com Survey
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Controversy
A friend sent me a note on Facebook: “Is ‘not being fed’ ever a reason to leave a church? If so, in what instance? And if the answer is ‘no,’ is there ever a good reason to leave a church, aside from relocating?” via The Baptist Standard :: The Newsmagazine of Texas Baptists – Free to leave? QUESTION:  Aside from staff members… when is it ok to leave a church?  Doctrinal issues?  Style issues?  Personality issues?  Power issues?  Integrity issues? What do YOU think?

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