When To Walk Away From Your Church

You don’t have to work in ministry long enough to know that there will be some really rough moments.  It’s during those moments when you might consider leaving.

But, is it the right decision?  Going through that discernment is difficult but necessary.  Anytime you feel tired, burned out or jaded you need to process the situation.


No matter what is causing the conflict you need to retreat and take time to think clearly.  Best places to find that is in prayer or on a retreat.  Journal your thoughts, read scripture and listen to God.

If God is the one who called you into ministry He will be the one to call you out.  Take time to listen for His voice and instruction.


If you are having trouble discerning find someone who can help you process your thoughts.  Get them out of your mind and into the open.

Make sure this person is objective.  While you might have people on staff you trust it’s probably best to ask someone who can look in clearly.  That might be a fellow youth worker, a friend or even a professional therapist.

If you are married you can always go to your spouse but make sure he or she isn’t carrying the burden alone.  While you are there for each other you don’t want to poison their perception of where you work.


It’s easy to get stuck on the surface of problems.  You’ll list a thousand incidents to prove a point that you feel but might not be clear.  To identify the source start answering the following questions:

  • Are my feeling mainly directed towards a person or situation?
  • How long have I felt this way?
  • Is there a pattern to how I feel and when I feel this way?
  • Has this problem occurred in past employments, relationships, etc.?

Taking time to reflect and ask questions that dig at the source will help you identify the deeper problem.  Once it’s identified it’ll become clearer on how to address it.


If you trust the vision and the leadership there is no question that you can endure this time of struggle.  It’s during those times you just need to continue to pray and make sure people are feeding into you.

If you are questioning the leadership and the vision it’s probably time to consider moving on.  No matter how hard you try if you cannot trust the leadership or the vision you will constantly find conflict.  If unaddressed it will catch up with you and cause more problems.


Set deadlines for when things should change.  By doing this you are encouraging yourself to address the situation.  If you are feeling tired and expecting it to just work out it won’t.

Most time conflict occurs because something has been unaddressed.  Be sure to tackle it early in the future so it doesn’t escalate into something unknown.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering whether to stay or leave make sure you do not go into it alone.  Find someone to walk with you and pray with you.  Give yourself time to listen to God.  He’s the one who called you in and He will call you to move forward when it’s time.

[reminder]  What advice would you give a fellow youth worker discerning his or her tenure at a church? [/reminder]



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