Encouragement for Frustrated Church Leaders Who Are About To Quit

Frustrated

This post will provide encouragement coupled with advice for frustrated church leaders who are about to quit. I know how you are feeling, I’ve been there before. During my over 5 years as a church youth leader there were a few times when I was so frustrated that I was about to quit the leadership position and leave the church. At times the desire for leaving would be a legitimate reason while other times it was purely self-imposed. If you’re feeling frustrated and are about to quit your church leadership position, whether it’s paid or volunteer, here are 3 things you must do before you make that critical decision:

1. Place everything in God’s hands-

Know your skills, abilities, and leadership can greatly impact those you serve only when you release complete control of your life over to God. The leaders who last in a church position have the habit of releasing everything over to God. This means you should do your best while having a Standard of Excellence and rely on God to deliver the results. Let go of the burden that you must do everything or more tasks that are outside your areas of main responsibilities.

Letting go and releasing everything to God will lighten the burden that is causing you to burn out or want to quit. Be thankful and encouraged that you have an all mighty God working on your behalf.

2. Take a break or vacation-

Being exhausted from serving and leading brings burnout which can cause you to want to quit. Regular days off and annual vacations are essential for your overall well-being. Make it a habit to take (at least once a week) breaks and begin to say no to more unimportant tasks that might drain your energy.

God commands (exodus 34:21) Christians, this also includes Christian leaders, to take one day a week to rest. Leaders need to take this commandment seriously. The next time you’re frustrated and want to quit take one suggestion: before you make the decision, take a couple days off to relax and have some fun.

3. Step back and reflect-

Take time to step back and reflect on the big picture of why you are at your current church, and not just how you are currently feeling in your role. Emotions are powerful forces and we can’t allow them to lead us to quit when God is calling us to stay.

Also take time to think on the positive and good memories you have while serving in your position and at the same time avoid any bad memories that might bring you down. Remember your role is impacting people’s eternal lives.

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Question: What encouragement and advice would you give to a frustrated church leader who is about to quit?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Someone once asked a pastor if he ever felt like resigning/quitting. His answer was “every Monday morning.” I have been discouraged in the past, so much so I wanted to quit. Move on. Honestly, I have. I have been here since 11/05 and have never had that feeling. I think a lot of that is the attitude of the pastor and realizing this whole church thing is a give and take. Too many pastors are on a high horse thinking they are right and cannot be/should not be challenged. I love my fellow leaders and we respect each other. So I reckon I might add that: Mutual respect of/with other leaders.

    • That’s great you’ve not had that feeling at your current church:) The attitude of the pastor/church leader is really important. A strong leadership team around you also helps. Thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion.

  • DS

    Re-evaluate boundaries, and try to not take things personally.

  • Great list. I can’t tell you how much rest helps me. It gives me fresh perspective and time with God. It can be so easy to get too busy doing things FOR God that we forget to spend time WITH God. We forget that without Him, it’s not really worth it.
    Our hearts motivation must be right or all our efforts have less value.

    Wonderful post.

    • Rest is also very essential for me, I know I need to rest and reconnect with God if I’m going to be useful. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • I have worked at a church for almost 6 years. I have found on frustrating days that writing a letter helps the venting process. Of course you never send the letter!

    • It’d be interesting to actually review all the letters you wrote and see how it has evolved from the beginning to now. It’s interesting to see always in hindsight how God works through our thought-processes.

      • Thanks Paul, but those letters are gone. Once I write the letter, I usually throw it out or hit the delete button. That way I can be honest and vent properly and know the letter will not actually get read!

    • Great addition Paul! Thank you for serving in a church and adding to the discussion. Keep doing Gods work.

    • Alan Allard

      That’s excellent advice Paul.

  • Floyd

    I’d give the same advice as you, Dan. Spending time with our Father is the key. trying to make it in this world without His guidance is like trying to sail a ship the size of the Queen Mary by yourself…

    • Great analogy! I’d take your advice in anytime.

  • Great list Dan. I am going on vacation with my wife for a week Monday. We are celebrating our anniversary but we will also discuss what to cut and what to add. Stepping back is crucial when we feel like we can’t.

    • Congratulations Zech! Hope you feel rejuvenated when you come back.

    • I hope you have a great time Zech! You bring up a great point about taking time to talk with our spouse.

  • Those are great tips, Dan. I also love the advice of DS. I think for me it would help to just recognize that it’s my job to love people, disciple anyone who wants to be discipled, and present the truth. And then to recognize that not everyone will want to be discipled. I think sometimes we get frustrated because we have too high of expectations for others. I know I would also have to be going to God a lot to renew my mind as I can see that it would be easy to get your feelings hurt and to get annoyed with different people in the church.

    • You have the right mindset Barb, not everyone will want to be disciple or want to hear the truth. We still should love them but focus on those people how want to learn and grow in Christ. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • I’d ask for God to discern whether the decision is something from God or just emotions taking sway. I’ve been through how it’s not about knowing the right answers, but having the discernment for God to speak through your life. Perhaps, a church leader wants to quit because God has something else in store. It really depends on where God is leading the person. Great post!

    • Yes, discernment is so crucial. We have to hear from God to which direction he is leading us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  • I’ve been frustrated many times as a church leader and the thing that often helps me is remembering that some of the great prophets like Ezekiel and Isaiah experienced greater problems than I! Also my wife is a tremendous help to me. Just taking the time to talk it out with her makes a big difference!

    • Great additions Caleb! A wife is truly a blessing for church leaders. Thank you for adding to the topic.

  • Great post Dan and I’m digging the Get Noticed theme here. Looks simple and clean!

    • Thanks Kimanzi:) Me too! It’s a great theme.

  • Dan I am going to have to forward this post to a few people at our church. It speaks volumes to how many people are feeling, but they don’t know how to handle it. Thank you so much for sharing this. Also, I like Get Noticed theme.. Awesome!!!!

    • I hope it helps them:) We have to find out what works for us and to regularly implement it into our life’s. Thanks man, I’m loving this theme.

  • Alan Allard

    Very good insights and advice Dan. I would add that a pastor needs to find some way to get the support he or she needs. Some possibilities are:

    *Mastermind group
    *Coaching group
    *Individual coaching
    *Mentor
    *Strong friendships

    • Great additions Alan! Those are great ways. Thank you for reading and sharing.

    • Instead of making my own comment on the need to connect with others and let them help you, I’ll piggyback on your comment, if that’s okay Alan. A church leader needs to rely on others for advice, guidance, encouragement, accountability, etc. Often, just getting with someone to brainstorm and perhaps vent a bit can help get a leader back on track.

      • Great additions Kari:) I think it’s a good idea to “vent a bit” but we have to be careful not gossip. It’s a fine line at times.

        • For sure, Dan. When I vent, it really needs to not get personal toward anyone. And, I make sure it’s a “safe” person who first of all won’t gossip about my venting and secondly who takes what I’m saying with a grain of salt. (Usually, it’s my husband or running partner.)

          • Kari,

            I just wanted to make sure you did not think I was saying you were or do gossip. I was making a general statement about anyone being careful about not turning the venting into gossip:) Trusted people are key like a spouse or close friend. Thank you for sharing.

            • Did not think you were implying that, Dan. Just discussing 😉 Also, I consider comment discussions like these as sort of accountability because they help me see angles that I might not be considering.

  • I’d also recommend checking out other churches. While it may seem counter-intuitive, going to different churches and seeing how things are done shows you that your church isn’t the only screwed up one. Rather, every church has it’s faults. You just don’t readily see them.

    • Ha, I’d agree. Great suggestion Joe. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • Dan – great post! I’ve been there and have wanted to quit many times. I think what keeps you going more than anything (besides the great tips you gave) is daily time with God. This is fuel which keeps leaders going.

    • Amen about that Dave! That’s a key element to lasting in church leadership.

  • Thanks for your transparency and honesty about your struggles. I believe those are attractive leadership traits. Thanks for the simple yet powerful tips, Dan.

    • Glad to share from my experience:) I hope it helps you and many others. Thank you for sharing.

  • I’ve found it’s a lot easy to deal with the stress of leadership if you regularly spend time de-stressing. Exercising. Journaling. Hanging out with friends who are not part of the church. Reading. Etc.

    Often the job, especially youth ministry, can become all consuming. That’s not healthy.

    • I like the point about regular “distressing.” I know about how serving in a youth ministry can be all consuming. It’s essential to breakaway from the work to de-stress and relax.
      Great point about spending time with friend who are not part of the church, it allows you to relax and not talk about the church/ministry. Thank you for adding your wisdom here.

  • A much needed post Dan! I think we must build into the culture of our churches the importance of regular sabbaticals to get away from the fray. Taking time to “relax” is crucial and must be practiced often. Thanks Dan for reminding us we need time away.

    • I totally agree! It’s something everyone needs to do. Thank you for adding to the discussion.