Yesterday a woman came up to me and reintroduced herself. I knew her face, but couldn’t place from where. She helped me out, “I used to attend _________ church?”
Yes, of course. She was a prominent volunteer in children’s ministry and had attended several events in the area where I’d worked with her before. I immediately wondered the obvious question:
Why did she leave?
I wanted to know the stories behind the words: “used to.” The two simple words were packed with reasons why. She didn’t bait me, and I didn’t ask. Whatever happened was none of my business, yet still, I wondered.
As I thought about this for the rest of the day, the question evolved. Why does anyone leave a ministry that has been a significant part of their faith journey?
I used to do a lot of things I don’t do now:
I used to teach at a Christian school.
I used to work at a Christian publishing house.
I used to work at a different church.
And soon I will add “I used to work at Ada Bible Church”.
All of those statements represent a lot of life, stories of forward movement, some on my terms, others not so much. I know them, lived through them. And yet I still ask myself, why does anyone leave ministry? And perhaps a more important question, why does someone stay?
At some point, we’ll all need to ask ourselves questions about leaving and staying. Neither is always easy, but both happen and how we respond will a lot about our character and what we view as important in our careers.
Because I’m leaving again, I decided that this week I would revisit these posts and update them with current information and thoughts about staying, leaving, and doing both of those things well.
I have several stories and what I learned through living them. I’m not an expert here, just a guy with a few stories to share about leaving… and staying.
Tomorrow: Knowing Your Call