Myself, Darren, Leneita and John are at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Louisville, KY. This post is part two and is focused on a peer panel I am leading at SYMC.
In my previous post I talked about the importance of learning certain lessons as we leave a ministry. In particular, it’s paramount that when a ministry comes to a challenging end that we commit to finish well as well as protect the Bride of Christ from hurt and pain. Today, I want to continue to look at some of the lessons I have learned when leaving a ministry. Here’s the rest of my list:
5) Reflect Upon Lessons You Need To Learn. This is a hard one indeed. It’s not always easy to reflect at the time, but it’s imperative that we take an honest look at what we could learn and what we need to ‘own’ as we leave. It’s hard to admit, but I have played the victim card too much in the past. How about you? Yes, there are things that have happened in your ministry that have hurt you, but what could you have done differently? Who knows you well enough to be honest with you in this area? Unfortunately, as I come to youth ministry conferences, I often only hear one side of the challenges in ministry… There is always two sides however. What side do you need to own?
6) Forgive and Be Forgiven If Needed. This should be a given, but I know that it is easier said than done. Who are the people who you need to say sorry to? Who do you need to forgive in order to walk away without the seeds of bitterness growing?
7) What are You Taking to Your Next Ministry? Again, this is a challenging question, but what ‘junk’ is going to follow you to your next place? What habits, hurts, or hang-ups need to be addressed now? What junk do you need to rid yourself of now? Have you become overly defensive? Have you lost trust with the church? Have you become too stubborn? Are you too emotionally hurt to jump straight back in? Do you need some time off before you jump back in? There are lots of things to consider, but the main thing here is to consider what things could cause issues for you in your next ministry if they are not dealt with now…
8) How are You Protecting Your Family? Don’t forget that your spouse and kids will be impacted directly by a transition. In order to hang in for the long-haul, your family needs to see church as a positive thing. We can’t along a blessing to become a curse and cause our families to fear being a part of the church. It is my job to ensure that my family knows the basics, but does not need to get dragged into gory details of church disfunction.
What would you add to this list? What lessons have you learned in leaving well (or poorly)?