Many Christian staffing and search firms are anticipating a disproportionate number of ministry leaders will leave their current assignments as we emerge from COVID-19.
On the surface, this prediction makes some sense. Various ministry leaders may have intended to transition during 2020 but stayed on through COVID-19 in order to provide stability to the ministry and to their own lives. Post-COVID-19, enduring the challenge of being separated from extended family may encourage some leaders to move closer to family. Other ministry leaders burned out during COVID-19, while others don’t feel they can reimagine their ministry post-COVID-19.
Inspired by COVID-19 or not, discerning whether you should stay or go is a big, important and challenging decision.
Here are five questions to ask if you are wondering whether or not it’s time to move on:
1. How’s your energy?
If at all possible, don’t make a big decision when you are tired. Do whatever you need to do to get rested. A few days or weeks of rest is a wise short-term investment before you make a long-term decision. You need to process this decision when you can think clearly and listen to God more fully.
2. Do you have imagination?
I remember being challenged to lead out of imagination rather than memory. This was true before COVID-19 and will be vital after COVID-19. Relying on old wineskins won’t work well in a new-wineskin world. Besides, leading in “coast” mode should never be a serious option. To effectively lead into the future, you need to see possibilities, potential or have a fresh dream. You don’t need to discover this on your own, you can seek and discern vision with a community or team. The key is being willing to stretch, to learn and to imagine new things.
3. What are you hearing?
What is the Lord saying? Ultimately, he is the One you need to follow. Asking him for direction and finding space to attentively listen is essential. Is he calling you to persevere or releasing you for a new assignment?
If you are married, what is your spouse saying? What about your board or supervisor? Your team? Your mentors and trusted advisors? In this noisy world, you need to intentionally listen and seek prayerful and wise input.
At times, it is good to engage a sounding board a step or two removed from your situation. Arrow Leadership is here for you and provides personalized coaching for times when external help is needed. Click here to learn more.
4. How is your alignment?
How do your calling, passion, gifts and strengths align with your current role? Many leaders find themselves frustrated because of a lack of alignment. However, there can be ways to realign in your current context. My coach helped me use the Tic-Tac-Toe exercise to evaluate and address my alignment. Watch this short video post to learn more.
5. Where is your trust?
Trust is the currency of leadership. It’s required for leading forward. If you have the trust of your constituency, you can usually move faster and further. If you don’t have enough trust, you will usually struggle or get stuck. So, what’s your trust “bank account” level in your current context? Do you have high, medium or low trust? Rebuilding trust is often (not always) possible, but it can be a slow and difficult process.
Trust is also foundational to obediently following Jesus. Are you able to choose to trust God in staying or leaving? Fear is never a good companion for making long-term decisions.
May Psalm 62:5-8 focus and give peace to your heart and mind as you discern next steps:
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Cheering you on,
Dr. Steve A. Brown
President, Arrow leadership