First posted on “Leading Smart.”

Change is always uncomfortable, no matter the circumstances.

I love this quote from Henry Cloud’s book Necessary Endings: “Endings are not only part of life; they are a requirement for living and thriving, professionally and personally. Being alive requires that we sometimes kill off things in which we were once invested, uproot what we previously nurtured, and tear down what we built for an earlier time.”

Is it time for you to have a necessary ending?

If you’re experiencing any of these ten circumstances, it might mean that it’s time.

1.  You are wearing yourself out with sideways energy.

Instead of moving the mission forward, so many of your team’s conversations are about structure, analyzing what’s happened in the past, talking about things that don’t matter, navigating difficult relationships, or debating the direction with other leaders in the church. It’s okay to do this for a short season to fix a problem—but sideways energy in the long haul will suck the life out of you.

2.  You dread coming back after vacation.

Everyone has a pile on their desk after vacation—so I’m not talking about the normal struggle of working your way through the post-vacation pile. But if you return after a restful vacation and find yourself dreading the work, relationships, conversations, and meetings, then it might be time to move to something you can love again.

3.  You like your team but can’t stand your senior pastor.

“Houston, we have a problem.” There is no way to be supportive to your church if you’ve lost trust in your lead pastor. You can’t fake it. Stop trying. You are cheating yourself and cheating your church.

4.  The only reason you are staying is for security.

It might be the security of a paycheck; or because you don’t want to uproot your family; or because it took a long time to find a mechanic and you really don’t want to go through that again. Security shouldn’t be ignored, and supporting your family is an important factor to consider. But gone are the days when you have to stay in a stress-filled job that you stopped loving long ago.

5.  Outwardly you are supporting the leadership, but inside you find yourself questioning more all the time.

You probably aren’t as much in stealth mode as you think. If you are having an internal problem in supporting the leadership—then it’s probably seeping out and impacting others. Don’t do damage to your church. Find a place where you can wholeheartedly support your leaders.

6.  You aren’t even sure you believe in the mission anymore.

Perhaps nothing changed at the church, but you’ve been learning and growing and discovering—and you aren’t the same person you were when you joined the staff. That is the natural course of being human. It’s possible that the best gift you can give your pastor and church is to quietly resign, and move to a place where you can embrace the mission once again. 

7.  You are going through the motions.

You’ve shifted into neutral. You used to love it and have passion for the vision, but you’ve decided that the only way you can stay is if you stop caring. The problem is, you can’t stop caring. God hasn’t wired you to coast. You were created for more than that. You must find a place where you can thrive and grow and contribute with everything you have.

8.  You stopped giving (or are thinking about no longer giving) to the church where you lead.

The Bible is pretty clear—“where your heart is, that’s where your treasure will be.” So if you have a really hard time giving money to your church, then it’s likely symbolic of something going on in your heart. I remember Mark Beeson saying, “First your heart leaves, then your mind wanders, and the last thing to leave is your body.”

9.  There is a lack of integrity not being addressed.

You see stuff no one else sees. You may not be in a structure where there is a clear way to confront such issues, and so it might just be time to leave. To stay might mean you are contributing to the problem.

10.  You know you were created for something more.

That doesn’t mean you are better than your current surroundings. It doesn’t mean they don’t measure up. It could just mean that God has wired you for something different. Perhaps you are angry because you came to this place thinking it was “the” place. But it wasn’t. And it’s not. And you don’t want to move your family again. But the damage of staying where you are is likely worse, long-term, than the pain of moving once again.

What would you add to this list?