Resigning From the Church is the Best Thing I Have Ever Done


ImageI was a little bit nervous as I handed the senior pastor the letter. It felt like I was walking away from doing what was right. I didn’t want to give up just because I was tired. But I was tired. I was exhausted. As soon as I handed him the letter, I was immediately at peace with my decision. That was a weird feeling. My resignation brought me peace.

Now, almost a week after the decision to resign, I am beginning to see the fulness of what that position had done to me.

It made me cynical toward the Church.

It made me see some of my brothers and sisters in Christ as the enemy.

It made me scan the Bible looking for ways to prove myself right.

It made me wish Johnson would’ve offered Political Science courses.

It made me want to leave the ministry.

It made me see the need for a church in this area.

Most importantly, it made me see what I did not want to become.

During my internship at Central, I remember a leadership talk given (I can’t remember who gave it) that said that sometimes we learn the most out of bad situations because we learn what we don’t want to become. I never thought those words would be so true.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed so much of it. But you can only see the damage when you leave

You can only see the damage done when you leave.

That thought made me think quite a bit. How many of us are in unhealthy situations but do not know it? How many of us are hanging by a thread but do not know it? Is it right to continue in a position that is slowly killing your drive? I fear that many of us are in these unhealthy situations but refuse to walk away because we think we can change things. We cannot change that which is refusing to change.

I tried to change the music. Music is something that causes more problems than it should. But seeing how music directly influences your salvation, we must pay it a great deal of attention. I tried changing something that refused to be changed.

Perhaps you are a minister who is trying to change the mindset of your elders and they refuse to change.

Maybe you are a youth minister who is trying to change the perception of what youth ministry is but people are refusing to accept the new ideas.

Maybe you are a small groups minister who is trying to change the structure but no one wants to do it.

I don’t know your situation, but what I do know is this: one cannot change that which refuses to change.

When I graduated college, I had this idea that I was going to change the world, one church at a time. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize that I can’t change something that refused to be changed. Whenever we try to change something that refuses to be changed, we destroy ourselves.

I don’t know what to do in these situations. I don’t know if what I did was completely right. But what I do know is this: resigning is the best thing I have ever done.

Perhaps you’re in a similar situation. Remember these 2 things:

1.) You cannot change that which refuses to change.

2.) You can only see the fulness of the damage when you walk away from the situation.

11 thoughts on “Resigning From the Church is the Best Thing I Have Ever Done

  1. Candy Allen

    I remember what a great minister once said (No, not Kevin). The only way to get people to change is to outlove them and to outlive them. Both take a lot of time and patience.

    As you grow, you will also learn that you have to put ideas into the heads of people and make them think it is THEIR idea. This is how you make people change.

    I am sorry that you have experienced a bad church situation. Unfortunately, there are more of them out there than good ones…..Hopefully, you survive each one with yourself intact, learn from each experience, and then move on with hope for the next situation. LOVE YOU!!!!

  2. Randy

    Caleb, strength to you. I can understand your situation, I really have been where you are. It is part of the reason why I am in Seattle right now and not in Illinois. If it is of any help, I believe you did the right thing.

    You’re right that you never now how unhealthy it can really be until you walk away, and I am glad you made it out :).

    I know this sounds cliche but God has some pretty amazing things for you. You have a genuine heart (you don’t find too many of those) and you are wise. I pray that this situation will only serve to strengthen you and help make you more equipped to serve His wonderful church for years to come.

    And honestly, shame on them.

  3. I understand completely what you’re talking about, I couldn’t agree more, and I can’t honestly say that I’m glad about the fact that I can agree with you so heartily… simply because it was a painful experience.

    Excellent points made, as usual. Thanks, Caleb, for your insights. Its only a matter of time before you have an enormous following. I’m excited to see where the Lord is taking you.

  4. Gina Tracy

    YOU can’t change things, but God can. Just don’t forget the importance of prayer 🙂 I’m praying for you and your next ministry opportunity!

  5. The reality of the situation is that churches often screw up the very thing that we were called to do. Love. They treat their ministerial staff and volunteers like shit, and think that the way it has always been done is the only way to do it. Unfortunately they drive people out of ministry who can affect change for the cause of Christ and change lives.

    That leaves us at the point where the people in the pews hate churches for the same reason people leave the ministry…. Church leaders and under qualified “elders” screw up the image of Jesus, church, and community.

    You are called by God to serve and lead his people. You will change the world. Because if people don’t want to change, but God does, his will will triumph.

  6. It was tough to click “like” because although I don’t “like” the difficulty that you’ve gone through, I do “like” what you have taken away from the experience.

    It’s also tough to add anything to the comments that have already been posted here. I’m glad to see that there are so many people who are supportive of you.

  7. Joe

    I’m so sorry what you have had to go through! We all have to go through many tough times during the course of our life. Each one can make you stronger. I left there for reasons similar but also different than yours. I procrastinated for a long time about it. I believe now I have been placed where I can grow and serve in a more effective way. If or when that stops it will again be time to search for my call. I have learned mostly the “hard” way during my life. Some important things that have impacted my life are: 1) Never give up, never surrender 2) love, laugh, learn 3)Never burn your bridges 4)listen, God communicates directly to us in the oddest ways sometimes 5)Don’t allow distractions from your goal 6)stop and smell the roses 7)Forgive and forget Cliches, cliches but they have worked for me when I practice them. I keep failing on these things but persevere. You have a big heart and are one of the most musically talented people I have ever known. This was just a stepping stone and you have just walked through God’s door of opportunity.

  8. Hey, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I found this post. Resonate a lot with what you wrote about and don’t know if you want to pursue it but I’m planting a church in OKC and looking for a worship arts pastor/director. What I read from you I resonate with and so as your blog tag line suggests, I thought I would start a conversation. We are just in the early stages of the church but love to talk if you want to hear more about what we are doing. blessings, doug

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