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A pastor may consider leaving his church or ministry when she or he feels called to do so if they are experiencing burnout or facing significant conflicts that cannot be resolved.
A more positive reason is that they discern they have accomplished what they set out to do and it is time for a new challenge or opportunity.
These are four main reasons a pastor should consider leaving his church, though there can be others: family health issues, career opportunities for a spouse, a change in vocation, and, or course, retirement.
How a pastoral leader leaves a congregation is arguably as important as the reason for going. In the midst of what can be an emotion-driven experience, it’s helpful to strive to be intentional about leaving well.
Here are six best practices when leaving a church or ministry:
Remember that how you leave your ministry can impact your reputation and the church’s reputation. Following these best practices with intention can help ensure a respectful and smoother transition. Leaving well is a gift to the ministry you leave behind.
~Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary.