Over the past few weeks, I have talked and written with many pastors and leaders, especially younger leaders. Many leaders around me feel overloaded and at the brink of giving up. A lot of stress, internally and externally, is faced. Ministries do not go so well. Depression sets in. A burn-out wave is expected in the near future. Uncertainty about the future makes innovation harder though it is so much more needed right now, as the old ways do not work anymore. Covid-19 has heightened some of these tensions as well. This virus serves as a fire accelerant and we see things come to the surface like never before.
A lot is expected of us leaders right now as we personally also struggle through these challenging times. How to comfort others if we feel like needing comfort ourselves?
In his latest excellent blog, Carey Nieuwhof writes about this topic. He is saying, of course we can quit. No one can stop us, but maybe it is the wrong time for it.
Why should we hang in there? He mentions four reasons of which I portray three here:
- Quitting on a bad day is a really bad idea
One of my senior friends told me when I was 18, “Evi, never leave for negative reasons”. That stuck with me all those years. Don´t decide on your future if you are having a bad day or a bad period.
“On a bad day, your emotions hijack your brain”, writes Nieuwhof. “If you are going to quit, quit on a good day.”
- You are probably just about to innovate
We had to adapt a lot over the past few months as our work and ministry had to radically adapt to the new normal. Adaption though has only gone that far and now we need to radically innovate. Nieuwhof says, let your desperation drive you to innovation.
He often faced a lot of tension just before he was to innovate.
- The world has never needed the church more
Though we face a massive decline in our church attendance, also online, and also our various organisations struggle, the purpose of our church´s mission has not changed. As followers of Jesus let´s truly be the Good News, the alternative, be courageous, and love our neighbours as Jesus told us to.
We are not in for a competition, but together move toward God´s intention for the world. Together we can move through this crisis as many leaders before us have done so, starting with the leaders in the Bible who faced seemingly unsurmountable challenges. We leaders need to support each other and where we stumble, lift each other up. I do not want to see you stay on the floor. I have been there and leaders have lifted me up. I understand!
If I can serve you in any way, I am happy to make space for you leaders who struggle. A cup of Earl Grey tea, a walk or an online conversation is all possible. Cheering you on!
If you like to read his full blog: https://careynieuwhof.com/why-you-shouldnt-quit-ministry-right-now-even-though-you-feel-like-it/