7 Signs It’s Time to Leave

time to leaveSo you’ve thought about leaving, haven’t you?

Thinking of leaving your current job is a fairly normal phenomenon. And yet in ministry, changing churches seems to happen faster than in many other occupations.

While statistics vary, most pastors stay 3 to 7 years in one place before moving on. In my view, that’s barely enough time to effect any change. And I doubt it’s long enough to bring about transformation.

What’s the difference between change and transformation? Simple. Transformed people never want to go back to the way it was.

My personal theory is that it takes 3-5 years to change a church. It takes at least 7 years to transform it.

For that reason alone, I have a bias toward staying in the same church for a long time. I’ve served in the same community with the same group of people for 24 years.

Should everyone stay that long?

Not necessarily. I’ve also seen leaders stay for years past their effectiveness in leadership. That’s a disaster for everyone.

So how do you know when you should stay in your current position in ministry, and when should you go?

Here are 7 signs that would demonstrate to me it’s time to move on. If you see them in your situation, it might be time to go.

1. You’ve lost your passion

We all lose passion some days. Your passion might even disappear for a short season. It happens to all of us. That’s actually not a reason to move on.

Loss of passion might be a sign you’re burning out, or it could be that you need some rest or another adjustment. Moving to a new church won’t solve that kind of passion-loss. In fact, it might make it worse.

But one sign your time in a place could be drawing to a close is that you’re basically healthy but your passion for that particular ministry is gone.

You’re still passionate about life. You’re passionate about other things. You may even be passionate about other ministries or other opportunities.

It’s just your passion for ministry in that place and time has vaporized.

If that’s the case, it’s a sign the end may be near. Why?

Because a passionless leader is an ineffective leader.

2. There’s no other role you could get excited about

Just because your passion is fading in one area doesn’t mean your tenure at a church is over.

A few years ago, I knew I didn’t want to leave my church but I found my passion for the things I was doing getting narrower.

After what was truly a few incredible months of prayer and processing with mentors and our elders, I transitioned from the Lead Pastor role at my church (being the Lead Pastor is the only role I’ve held in a church since I started) into a Founding and Teaching Pastor role.

The result? I love it. My passion is back, stronger than ever, and I’m completely excited about the future of our church.

I got to keep the parts of my job I’m most passionate about and throw my weight behind our mission for a whole new season.

Your renewal may not come from leaving, but simply changing what you’re doing where you are. Just switch roles.

3. You’ve affected all the change you can

Another sign it’s time to leave is simply this: you’ve affected all the change you can.

Maintaining what you’ve built never advances your mission because it elevates what happened yesterday over what could happen today and tomorrow.

Sometimes leaders realize they’ve done as much as they can.

Perhaps a new leader will need to come in to pick up where the current leader left off because the current leader has done everything they know how to do.

Or sometimes a leader’s desire to change exceeds the congregation’s willingness to change, despite long conversations about the need to change.

How do you know your church is done changing? In this post, I outline 7 signs your church will never change.

When your church won’t change or you can no longer lead that change, it might be time to go. Otherwise, all your best days will be behind you.

And when your best days are behind you, it’s time for a new future.

4. Your vision no longer lines up with the organization’s vision

The ideal leadership environment is when the leader’s vision and the organization’s vision line up.

Naturally, a leader will always be a little ahead of the church or organization—otherwise he or she wouldn’t be a leader.

But over time, the leader’s vision and the organization’s vision can become out of sync.

Sometimes the leader has more vision than the church can handle (see Point 3 above). And sometimes the organization wants to go faster or head in a more progressive direction than the leader.

Or sometimes the visions just become different.

Great leadership requires a syncing of the leader’s vision with the organization’s direction. When that’s not true, great leadership becomes impossible.

5. You feel like a fish out of water

This is a bit of an odd one, but I’ve had it happen to me more than once—not at our church, but with different organization’s I’ve partnered with.

Sometimes you fit really well into an organization; the cultural sync is perfect. You are what they are about and they are what you’re about…or at least as close as you can get this side of heaven.

But as time goes on, you change or the organization changes. Maybe your values shift. Or as you grow as a leader, you morph into a different kind of leader than you used to be.

Maybe you’re largely the same but the organization shifts, not in terms of vision, but in terms of style, culture and feel.

The best way I can describe how that feels when it’s happened to me is that I end up feeling like a fish out of water.

What used to be so natural and easy now makes me feel like I just don’t fit—for whatever reason.

When you no longer feel like you fit, you’ll never realize your full potential as a leader. And the organization won’t realize their potential either.

6. Your excitement about what’s happening elsewhere is greater than your passion for what’s happening where you are

When you’re more excited about someone else’s future than your organization’s future, you’re in trouble.

Nobody should be more passionate about a church’s future than a leader. Why? No church’s passion for the mission will ever exceed the passion of its leader. Sure, for a week it can. Or a month. But never for long.

If your passion for what’s happening elsewhere is greater than your passion for what’s happening where you are, it’s almost impossible to stay where you are.

Naturally, you would have to make sure you’re not struggling with a ‘grass is greener’ scenario, but sometimes you genuinely are not.

7. Your inner circle agrees

All of these signs notwithstanding, how do you know you’re reading the situation correctly?

Answer? You don’t.

But other people do.

That’s why it’s so important to cultivate and consult an inner circle of people who know you well. If you’re married, your spouse will have great insight into whether you’re reading the signs accurately.

In addition, every leader should have an inner circle of at least 3 to 5 people who know them well enough and love them deeply enough to tell them the truth.

I get emails all the time from leaders who ask me whether they should stay in their job or go, and I always tell them: go ask someone who knows you and knows the situation. I hate it when they email me back and tell me they don’t have anyone like that.

I honestly can’t help them, and they’ve left themselves isolated and prone to making bad decisions. No ‘expert’ can help them in a case like that.

I have no idea whether they should stay or go other than to send them a post like this and tell them to prayerfully apply it to their situation with the counsel of people around them.

I could never have made the move – or would  have made the move –  I made a few years ago into a Founding and Teaching Pastor role without the input of not only my inner circle, but also about a dozen other close friends and associates who weighed in on my decision.

I definitely prayed about it at length, but we prayed about it at length, too. And we talked about it—openly and honestly, weighing all the pros and cons before making a decision.

After all, if you’re the only one who thinks it’s a good idea, it’s probably not a good idea.

Anything I’m Missing?

In the meantime, what do you think?

Scroll down and leave a comment.

7 Signs It’s Time to Leave


  1. S on July 17, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    Sometimes it is very difficult to know what God is doing and what we should do. I have been a senior pastor for about 10 years now and in that time I have had my wife completely attacked by other folks, followed by power plays and all that fun stuff to which we left a work where God was really doing things until honestly some jealousy came out and such. Ministry can be hard. My 8 year old daughter was molested by a teenager in our church a year and a half ago multiple times in both our church building and our parsonage, and not only did that happen, but the family seemed quite stuck on a long-term narrative of being victims of life and essentially wanted insulation and everything swept under the rug. It was a fiasco and we lost…2/3 of our church I believe, between that happening, COVID shutdowns, lost momentum and people looking for an exit from a church that has been stained by the stigma. I have been through four church splits since leaving home at 18. I don’t understand why God does all these things, and I’m sure down the road I’ll have more wisdom for going through it, but it can be quite hard sometimes and believe me, I would love to be moved on, but I can’t dismiss myself without God opening up another avenue. Burnout, depression, yes those things have been off and on, but they’ve gotten better as time has progressed–much like grief, the depths of despair were more close to the beginning. I’m sorry for all of you who have suffered unjustly at times in service, and quite frankly, yes sometimes it is unwarranted and unfair, but it’s also spiritual opposition at work and in following God it is easy to only see people and not the spiritual warfare taking place intent on destroying ministers and ministries. I won’t give more details, but if you read this, perhaps you will think to pray for me and my family as we wait on the Lord and continue serving in a place full of “triggers” that few people understand. If you can imagine, life these days is often a rollercoaster, and not just for me, but for my wife, my kids and especially a young girl who has at times wondered if she did the right thing coming forward, what with how things have transpired since then. Yes, I have talked to other godly folks if you are wondering. Yes, it is still a battle. It’s not always easy to tell people what they should do, as no one wears our shoes but us–if God should tarry, remember that His grace is the only thing that sometimes we can fall back on for moving forward. To those who feel stuck, there are times that God may “nail your feet to the floor.” A pastor friend told me that recently, and it might be a fitting phrase. If that’s the case, there is a purpose for the meantime; pray and trust as much as you can that God knows what He is doing and where He is taking you (in character and perhaps in a different direction or destination). Do all you can to not become cynical if you endure suffering at the hands of others! Bitterness will render you more ineffective than whatever might have been done to you.

    • s on July 17, 2021 at 5:23 pm

      In reviewing what I wrote, please understand I don’t believe “God did these things,” what I meant to say was that I don’t understand why He allowed these things to happen. I can’t edit so I am adding this amendment. 🙂 Thanks

  2. Gretchen Smith on April 14, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    I need to know HOW TO QUIT. I have tried to quit dozens of times but God does not let me. I just get dragged back in . I don’t know how NOT to be in ministry but I DO NOT WANT TO BE IN MINISTRY. The church has made it impossible for me to want to serve within that structure or even the parastructures associated with it so more than 20 years ago I just did my own thing but I want OUT. I do not want to do this anymore but I can’t seem to raise anyone up who has the passion, drive and ability to do what I do…sounds arrogant right….it’s not. God has uniquely prepared me for a calling I DONT WANT. HELP. ME. QUIT. Someone please show me how to get out.

    • Shepherd on May 13, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      Elisha did not inherit the double portion of spirit until Elijah left.

      You must also know in what way you will serve God when the ministry has been left.

    • Mandy Gonzalez on July 2, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      Gretchen! You literally took the words out of my mouth! Wow! I was googling I want to quit ministry and this literally popped up! I just finished my first year of ministry and had no idea what I was getting myself and my family into. In my previous jobs I could go home and that was it. This job is 24-7 and never stops! I totally agree it’s you when it comes to our calling. It’s different when you know it’s your purpose.

  3. Ayodele Oluwadamilola on November 30, 2020 at 5:02 am

    Pls, if you are appointed a lead Pastor in a church without a personal conviction from the Lord. Its like you are forced into the role. The time you emerge results to a loss of respect, anointing and performance. Assuming you want to leave but no one is ready to assume the position to get you relieved. What can I do?

  4. Bruce Austin on November 12, 2020 at 10:56 am

    A.I.M. for High Ground is a collection of one pastor’s true stories of Christian leadership in crisis and in joy. These stories relate experiences you don’t ordinarily receive in Bible College. As you read each story you will be impressed that God still does remarkable things and brings remarkable people into your life resulting in remarkable lessons learned.

  5. Dr Darryl Jenkins on November 4, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Interested in receiving more information

  6. Mark on December 21, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    There is a huge missing component that I think many commenters miss in all of this and also something I think the author might think about in future articles. That is the snowball effect. Over time the scars build up. The anxieties can accumulate. The PTSD of hard seasons of accusation or conflict or controversy takes it’s toll. It doesn’t have to be some great scandalous tragedy that does you in. It can just be one more straw on the camels back.
    Now for those of you who need me to quote some scripture I am happy to oblige. There was prophet who was mighty in word and in deed. He had one of the greatest victories of his ministry career right before he buckled. He turned an entire nation back to God and away from false prophets. He did this through one of the most dramatic supernatural occurrences of the Old Testament. Then when he was done, the queen threatened his life. He was done. He fell apart. He had nothing left of his desire to be a prophet. God met with him, gave him one more small task and then sent him to find his successor.
    Why did God accommodate this change? Why didn’t he sound as condescending and prescriptive as many of the cheap talking Christians who judge other peoples fatigue as weakness and quitting?
    Furthermore might we ask an honest question? If a policeman or a high school teacher, or a drug and alcohol counselor or a military commander said, “After 30 years of this…I’m tired of it.” Who would point the finger at them and say, “Your such a quitter.” Yet when it comes to pastors we get treated like We have taken our hand off of the plow and forsaken Christ.
    To the smug and strong who are still as fresh and full of zeal and vigor as I was 20 years ago in ministry….just wait. You may someday look back and realize you had yet to really wear my moccasins. To those of you who have lasted longer and are still as happy as you ever were I say congratulations…you are better people than even Elijah. The rest of us however are but mortals and we do have our limits. Sorry not sorry.

    • Todd on August 29, 2020 at 9:36 am

      Mark, Thank you so much. Many I know personally would add this “number 8” to the mix. I especially like your comment that points out the guilt of wanting to leave church work and go into ministry :).

    • JM on September 5, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you for this. It validates our personal experience as well. Deciding to leave a church (or the ministry) does not have to be one devastating event, a crisis or a scandal. Sometimes God calls you into a new season so that you can be refreshed and learn to love the church again. We’ve been in ministry 20 years and just don’t have the same energy to push through certain challenges as we did 20 years ago. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

    • Ayo M on July 22, 2021 at 4:25 pm

      I absolutely positively agree with all you have said. As Christians, we lack showing others empathy and grace especially when they say they are tired. Jesus came to give us this grace. Let’s live it out. It is ok to be tired. It’s ok to quit. The paramount thing is to never quit having a personal relationship with our savior Jesus Christ. Never quit that!

  7. CeCe on September 17, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you for this, I recently left my church. I was a part of the inner team, a minister, a leader, and member several years,. Unfortunately, the last two years my ex-Pastor became abusive: His way or the highway, hiring yes people, making decisions without Godly counsel. It was one situation after the next, and his constant response “Your following the leadere, Your not patient with church or change” etc. Early this year, I took a sabbatical to pray, seek God on how to be better for me to be the church not think of my Pastor as the church. Unfortunately, the abusive became worse, members start dropping, his wife divorces him, the whole leadership staff resigned, I started to become physically ill. When I spoke to him in person that I would be leaving it was a “passive-aggressive” meeting, he said he understood but blew me off with “The timing is wrong”all other statements. This gave further confirmation to move on and forward my letter of resignation. Afterward, he ask me to stay saying “God told him to help build me up”, it stated to feel like manipulation. I had to assess I implanted all the change I could and to not feel guilty about it.

    • Graham on November 30, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      We are instructed in God’s Word to; “Love our enemies. Bless those who curse. Pray for those whom spitefully use use. Bless and do not curse.” Continues to instruct; “Feed the hungry. Give to those who do not have etc” But no where in the Bible are we instructed to “Live with our enemies!”
      This was and continues to remain with me. It was given to me by a visiting Minister whom neither knew myself nor circumstances, but was accurate to the core!
      Sometimes it is the most difficult decision to make. But it can also be the most beneficial.
      When I made the decision to leave, I did so with the greatest discretion and some 35 years later I still have never spoken negatively about the person/cause to any other openly.

  8. Alonzo Mable on August 12, 2019 at 10:38 am

    I think that the information you give are for different types of pastors. It appears that these people are not really called. I don’t understand how you can write several things to let a pastor know when it is time to leave. That is not a true Shepherds call to make. That’s Gods call and only his call. However, if these people are hirelings I guess what you say is okay for them. A true pastor doesn’t leave because it’s uncomfortable or things are not going his way. Our happiness has nothing to with this but if we find happiness good but if we don’t oh well. It’s about the Kingdom of God and not how we feel. I hope that you understand this but if you don’t understand it well it will be sad. I love you and may God bless.

    • Shari on November 30, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      I as well Totally agree, IF God calls you and you accept, it is a commitment not to be taken lightly, He says ” it is better to say nothing, than promise and not keep it”, not in correct format I am sure, but better to tie a stone around ones neck & plunge into deep water, than make a promise and break it. No , I am not a pastor, but rather a member. A member of the same church for nearly 10 years. Our pastor nearly 30 years. He states he answered his calling, with help of founding members built our beloved sanctuary to God, lost his beloved wife 4 years ago, remarried coming upon a year, announced this past Wednesday that he was leaving the church and going to attend his new wife’s previous church. Just like that… I do not fault him, he has every right to what he wants, just trying to figure what’s next, as I have attended & left many a church after less than a year, I truly felt The Father here, not to be confused with the man appointed, as he is but flesh, our members have love & special bond. I know our Father never fails and all will be ok. …just truly disappointed

    • JM on September 5, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      I completely disagree with this line of thinking. It undermines God’s calling, restricting it to one position – as a pastor in the church. God can call people to move on in various ways, including circumstances. He can lead hearts away from one type of ministry into another type of ministry – and that can even happen through discouragement, through growing as a leader, through changing with time. He can call me out of ministry through a circumstance or a change in desire and lead me into the secular marketplace, and I’m still “called” by God to love Him and make disciples no matter what.

      • Mich on July 7, 2021 at 9:28 pm

        AMEN to that!!

      • Ayo M on July 22, 2021 at 4:29 pm

        JM that’s right!!!

  9. Alonzo Mable on May 19, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    I appreciate the things that you wrote but all your points are not what my belief system is about. You wrote it as if God has nothing to do with assigning Pastors. They just leave when they feel like it. Well that’s all I want to write. I see no need to say more.

    • Dennis on August 11, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      Alonzo wrote as if God doesn’t move men’s hearts and as if God has no influence in the seasons we go through. What if God took us to a desert place to show us something about ourselves and about others? God took Elijah out of the lonely cave for a reason. God led the Israelites and even Jesus into the wilderness for a reason – but they came out of that barren place. The points in this article are entirely pertinent and relevant.

      • Mich on July 7, 2021 at 9:30 pm

        Amen. Spoken like someone who has actually been through this and/or has a very sound biblical view of the truth about ministry.
        Thank you!

    • Luis on November 22, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      Well said. The article is something that I would see from a secular site on advice to corporate America.

  10. Mark Sparks on May 3, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Hey Carey! Great post! I have a question that I’d love to get some more feedback on, but not sure if it’s too much to put into a comment/response. I’d love to hear more about how you made the shift into Founding/Teaching Pastor, how you worked through that transition with your elders, and how you broke down your “job description” and that of the Lead Pastor. I’ve been a Lead Pastor for over two years now, and regularly feel drained by the day to day execution of the “job”, but really enjoy and find life in developing leaders & preaching teaching. Just curious how your journey unfolded. Thanks for all you do!

    • Ben on August 5, 2019 at 8:38 am

      Same here. Let’s hear more on that.

    • Mich on July 7, 2021 at 9:31 pm

      Me too.

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  12. Janet Oller on January 27, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    thank you for your post.
    it’s wonderful to say and be able to act when you have several ordained clergy in a congregation- many of us, though, serve small one clergy congregations- so changing roles as you did isn’t possible.
    One concern I have with staying in one congregation for a long time is the tendency to develop a “ cult of personality” around the pastor- which is not good for anyone’s and perhaps mst especially for the pastor.
    good things to considering in your post, however

  13. John on November 9, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    When you get treated like you don’t belong. Face double standards. People don’t value your time and effort. Favortism. Being treated like you are new even though you’ve been going for years. Unrepentant gossipers. When people don’t have faith in the holy spirit and heckle those that are led by the holy spirit. When they decide behind your back that because you’re different some how even though you’ve brought positive things to the church that they will make you feel unwelcomed. When you warn someone of an event that could put them in harm’s way and they decide you are demonic somehow proving they don’t understand how gifts of prophecy operate yet claim to have these gifts too.

    When they bash you and minimize you but can’t be bothered to change their ways giving the same excuse “We’re sinners and it’s okay for us!” When you feel drained instead of uplifted.

    • Ann sargent on May 26, 2019 at 9:46 am

      Have pastoral and ministerial qualities am not growing in the church feel as though being pushed a side not being encouraged am feeling frustrated with the elders not being taken seriously

  14. Bill Berger on June 11, 2018 at 11:57 am


    This post is so timely for me. I am the founding pastor of our church and have been leading for 17 years. I resonate strongly with your idea to hand off the lead role and assume the role that best fits your passion and gifts. I have learned that management skills are completely different than entrepreneurial skills. I have tried to conform but have realised that my best place to serve our church is not the lead. I would like to hear more how you navigated this.

  15. […] I outline 7 signs you’ve peaked as a leader here, and 7 signs it’s time to move on in this post. […]

  16. Harry Court on April 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    This is my 27th year in the church my wife and I pioneered from nothing.

    Point 8 would be what if you get too old as sometimes the average age of your group follow your age, just as a pastor in tight jeans at 30 will have an age group around his age (in general) I have a young youth pastor and assistant pastor who will replace us.

    Not sure what I will do when I retire ….can only mow the grass once a week.

  17. Mike on April 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you, Carey, for this article. I have been at my church for 15 years; 10 in KidMin, 2 in StudentMin, 2 as campus pastor, and now a year into overseeing the staff. I have really been struggling to sense God’s direction in whether or not I need to move on. I am not a quitter by nature and tend to push through quitting points. However, in the last year I have started to feel like a “fish out of water.” My style of leadership is different and the relational, caring, and fun culture I tend to culminate is contrary to the policing, demanding, check up on everyone “or else” culture that senior leadership embodies. I spend a lot of my time talking people “away from the ledge” because of the way they feel they are treated by the Senior Pastor. However, based on #3 and #7, I am reassured that I am not done here. My inner circle, the elders, and longtime church members assure me that I CAN make a difference but that it will take a while. If you have any insight for me specifically, I would love to hear back from you.

  18. Beverly Blakemore on May 31, 2017 at 10:06 am

    2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

    If we’re getting anything else out of our Christian experience, then we’re being misdirected. In this paradigm, it’s not about the skills which you bring to the table. Salvation… Redemption: those are the transforming and changing elements in the Church, and that is only because of Jesus Christ.

    So often, I hear pastors and preachers using words like “transformation”, “change”, “influence” and “facilitator”. Already, churches spend more time during the week being office buildings with employees than churches. It seems that the role of pastor is being redefined to CEO. This Business paradigm, with its Leadership guidelines and FAQs, has become ubiquitous within the Church. It doesn’t belong there, and I think that it’s doing grave damage to the Church.

    I hate the use of the word “facilitator” within the paradigm of Christ’s Church because a facilitator in Business and in Politics is really someone who guides a group of people to a predetermined conclusion in such a way that they believe it was their own unforced, natural conclusion. That’s where you get your Transformation and Change in the World.

    If we must use the word, then let us use it as an empowering and enabling tool to bring people closer to God, who does ALL the transforming and changing Himself. The pastor only guards the people and facilitates people’s journey into the knowledge of God and into His presence. The pastor disciples- facilitates the congregation towards ability in prayer, the study of God’s Word, and evangelism.

    Is it that pastors are perhaps a little ashamed of their station if they incorporate the Business model into their churches? If the vision of the pastor is not something to do with the elements in the above paragraph, then it’s not the Church anymore. Since when does the shepherd change anything or anyone in the Church? Since when does anyone but God transform in the Church?

    A CEO works his way up the ladder of authority and influence and smells like Ralph Lauren; a shepherd fights off wild animals and smells like sheep. Two very different job descriptions.

    • theartist on January 28, 2019 at 11:33 am

      Beverly, I believe “the “Simple Church” that our Lord Jesus’s Ministry set before us as THE EXAMPLE has been lost in the modern Church. Churches operate more as “business models” rather than Ministry Models.

    • Derik on June 13, 2020 at 8:01 pm


      Odds are you won’t see this since it is three years old but it is worth a shot…I loved your comments…I greatly appreciate Carey’s ministry and article as well but your comments…I loved!

      I am pastoring a larger church in our community and everything is going “right”. We have a new building program and it’s paid for, we are doing exceptionally well with our online stream, staff all gets along and for some reason, I as the senior pastor am struggling. I am struggling with the weight of CEO…I feel like I can do the job well but the CEO part is something I don’t feel called too or excited about. I have an Executive Pastor but I don’t know why I am struggling.

      I feel disconnected from the job…I don’t know why. I came here to read and see if perhaps I wasn’t alone. So much of what I thought ministry was and should be twenty years ago when I started is so different.

      I’m not sure if our church needs to change and I need to lead the church through it or if I need to change by finding the next assignment…I feel lost in the middle of “success”.

      • Graham on June 13, 2020 at 8:33 pm

        Always remain a student (of God)…
        The Old Testament is full of varying examples; “He/She enquired of from the man of God”.
        Sometimes it is like we are so used to driving an automatic (vehicle) that we forget that we need to change gears at times. Jesus, Himself, spent time alone in prayer!
        Only those whom are quiet and still (within) will feel the gentle breeze.

  19. Glenn Cazar on March 27, 2017 at 7:47 am

    All of these points is exactly me. Except for my inner circle. I don’t really have one, except for the leaders in which only half I trust. I needed to read this…

  20. Nathan Walter on September 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I would also say, regarding your 5th point, sometimes you just don’t fit into the area you’re trying to reach.

    I served an area where my personality, my interests, and my values clashed. It was different than the values I was raised with. Culturally, politically, socially… just different all around. The things I enjoyed, leisure wise, no one in the area seemed to enjoy, thus there was no outlet for personal leisure amongst my peers. My personality clashed. I am a slow and methodical person who tends to conversation and relationships, whereas the area was high-energy, industrious and guarded.

    None of this is to speak ill of that church or that area, but rather to recognize that not every pastor is a perfect fit everywhere. I appreciated this post.

    • Dan on May 2, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      I am wrestling with the challenge of being a fish out of water for cultural/social reasons as well, albeit for different reasons. Cityboy vs. Countryboy. The bottom line is that I am very much unlike the people of my town, and since I am not from here, for some I will always be an outsider and in their minds that is how I am supposed to be dealt with. Oh well, God is good and I am enjoying a fruitful ministry here anyway.

  21. Richard Myerscough on September 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Hey Carey – would be interested to know if you’d include in reasons to leave anything of the pastor/leader’s family circumstances? Would that be legitimate? Say if the pastor is married and his wife is struggling, in a variety of ways? Or his children? I know some for whom that is significant.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 13, 2016 at 10:02 am

      I think that’s totally relevant. A divided house has a hard time standing.

      • Dan on May 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm

        I know that this post is 3 years old, but thank you for asking this question. And Carey, thank you for answering the question. My wife is a trooper, but she is lonely, bored, and unhappy where I live. I knew this, but I only recently found out that it causes her to cry because she accidentally let that slip out.

  22. Check out | HeadHeartHand Blog on September 12, 2016 at 6:48 am

    […] 7 Signs It’s Time to Leave Seven indicators that it may be time for a pastor to time to move on from his congregation. […]

  23. Harlen Johnson on September 7, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I sooooooooo appreciate this post. Thank you for putting things into perspective for me. As a pastor I have struggled with this very aspect of ministry. I also agree with the truth of having 3 to 5 men who know you well, to confide in and that will tell you exactly what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

  24. Paul Carter on September 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Good word Carey. Too many leave too soon – this article provides some useful metrics to think through before taking the leap. There is a time to leave and often God will not give any one leader all the gifts and vision necessary to bring a church into their full potential. He does this, I believe, to safeguard his glory. I don’t want to be remembered as the pastor who “led my church to the promised land”. I’d be happy to be remembered as a faithful servant who did his job humbly, diligently, passionately and prayerfully and then who faded off the stage so that Christ could receive the honour he is due. Thanks for this!

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 7, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Thanks so much Paul. I totally agree. If we all do our part and play our role, the church thrives and Christ is honoured. Appreciate all you and First do in our community to further the Gospel Paul.

  25. Dear Pastor: Stay Where You Are. - samluce.com on September 1, 2016 at 8:20 am

    […] around this idea. I wrote about the importance of staying, Kenny is talking how to leave well and Carey is addressing when you should stay and when you should leave. This is a conversation that needs to be had because of the ramifications it has on the local […]

  26. Have Courage to Go | Childrens Ministry Online on September 1, 2016 at 7:20 am

    […] Stay Where you Are: Sam Luce 7 Signs it is Time to Leave: Carey Nieuwhof […]

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