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January 27th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

23 comments (+ Add)

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?—2

It might be time to move when you and the leaders are in constant conflict.

All ministries have people in power: your senior pastor, the elders, your denominational leaders, or certain church members. If you’re constantly butting heads and you can’t agree on the ministry strategy, vision, or direction, you’ll likely want to wrestle with these questions:

  • Can the ministry structure/system/culture support what you feel called to do?
  • Are you the right person to bring about the changes?
  • Do you have the right idea but you’re at the wrong place?
  • Could it be that you have the wrong idea?
  • Will the (possible) results be worth the cost to move forward?
  • Are you spiritually and relationally strong enough to endure the pain of progress?
  • Are you willing to risk your job to move the ministry forward?
  • Are you seeing more spiritual fruit this year than last year?
  • If you didn’t work at your church, would you worship there?

If you’re repeatedly facing battles and the “spiritual bloodshed” exceeds the “spiritual benefit,” you have two options:

  1. Make the best of your current assignment with a genuinely submissive and supportive heart.
  2. Acknowledge you’ve done all you can do at your current place and be open to a new ministry.

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there are a total of23
  1. Jan 27, 2009 at 7:33 am

    love this series. keep it up….!

  2. Jan 27, 2009 at 7:49 am

    I like the fact that you said, it “might” be time to move if you are in constant conflict with the leaders. So many pastors, are ready to jump ship when the going gets tough (I have been there)instead of seeking God and asking the question, Is this a battle I need to fight? If you don’t wage the battle for a healthier ministry who will?
    I think a another reality is that many pastors are weary from the many little battles that come their way daily or weekly and then when the big ones come their tank is empty. My heart goes out to those that are facing such times in their church.
    There is a cost to what we do. There will be times when it is hard work. Let’s make sure we don’t move on too soon.

  3. Jan 27, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I love the SWERVE blog. It look forward to it every morning. I can’t tell you how many times it has spoken directly to situations that our local church is going through and your mentoring has helped us.

    Even though I don’t know Craig personally (and the guys on the team at LC), I feel like he/they are my personal mentors. I wish I had his cell phone so I could just call him up an chat sometimes. One day I want to be able to make it to LC.

    We are going through a staff change at our church right now and this could not have come at a better time. Thanks for being led by the Holy Spirit.

  4. Jan 27, 2009 at 7:52 am

    This is excellent. I hope leaders reading this will answer these questions honestly. Our church recently closed it’s doors because for 6.5 years the Sr. Pastor, Elders and board members would not answer these questions. There was a continuous war that destroyed the church.
    Thank You for all you do.

  5. Jan 27, 2009 at 8:57 am

    I think the same thing can be said about where Christians attend church. 4 years ago my husband and I went through a rough patch in our marriage and we were attending a church that decided to make our personal struggle public for many to have input. It was a nightmare and we still endure judgement at times even though we have moved on. Our marriage is now stronger than ever and God has blessed us 10 times over because of our commitment to each other and because we have decided to claim that our marriage IS holy! We now attend and have left the previous establishment and God has blessed us because we followed His voice and now our entire famiy is at the next level in our walk.

    I believe God continues to move us from one glory to another glory….he never wants us stagnent or where we WERE in life. He wants to make us new EACH and every day. If you feel God is moving you somewhere else or that He is taking you to the next level in your walk…my personal advice is TAKE the NEXT step WITH HIM…you will be amazed!!!

  6. Jan 27, 2009 at 9:01 am

    By the way I am looking forward to …THE VOW…series :)!

  7. Jan 27, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Very difficult situation.
    In my case, I love my church and as a new generation I have different ideas, new methods that can make our church a better place for those who do not know Jesus.
    I cannot put into place these new ways of “making church” yet. I will hang on until my time is due.
    But like Brandon said, we should not move on too soon.
    We have to be sure that is God who is sending us and not our own feelings.

  8. Jan 27, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Great series Craig…are you hiring??

  9. Jan 27, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I wanted to second Gerald on are you hiring and do you want to come to Denton Texas? lol

    Let me say that this topic is not just about those in paid ministry but for those of us in other careers. To find others who share a vision is hard but to find those who have character and are not just a character- is priceless.

    I totally believe that passion has to be a part of your life in career and self. So many of us are just breathing, walking, and talking but to not be fully alive. There is nothing sadder than being empty in your heart, dreams, goals and plans. Life becomes a series of 9-5 days of routine with its ups and downs.

    So be passionate about the concept of living out of God’s plan for your life and make it more about Him than about you. The problem is that if you are only conforming and not consuming the life given to you, you are just the walking dead- to me that says a lot about your relationship with God. I know this first hand….

    I said all that to say if your the walking dead then those you serve will also follow…find passion and live.

    Living Life Large

  10. Jan 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I love the spirit in which comments are made on this blog…it is so refreshing. Not only does Craig give us so much, each of you that offer comments bring a lot to the table. Thanks to all…this is such an enriching place.

  11. 12Ryan Throop
    Jan 27, 2009 at 10:52 am

    God can use some leaders in their current context to bring about needed change (although that change will be slow and taxing). Other types of leaders must realize that God has something more for them. The question of “should I stay or go” comes down to the type of leader and personality you are/have.

    Authors Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch (Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church) confess their belief in “the planting of new, culturally diverse, missional communities [as] the best way forward for the church that views itself in a missional context” and success for the already established church “seems to be rare from our experience and perspective (2003, x).”

    If God has planted the vision for a culturally diverse, missional community in the heart of a leader success will rarely be seen in the established church or denomination. Hard truth to swallow, but sometimes reality is just that.

  12. Jan 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Had a pastor once say, he believed what was best for the organization would be best for the person… meaning if you had to let someone go for the good of the organization - in the long run it would be best for the person.

    We are going through a situation with a long time staff memeber, where we feel like change in necessary. Craig thank you. These could not have come at a better time. When i have an inbox full of e-mail - I always look forward to these!!!

  13. Jan 27, 2009 at 11:10 am

    What about the church council mechanism from Acts 15? Wouldn’t following that conflict resolution mechanism help reduce the sectarian divisiveness of leaving one local body for another?

  14. Jan 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

  15. 16Nyxll
    Jan 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    These are great questions to ask yourself, I am hoping that tomorrow will have questions and observations about where God leads.

    Like what does God think about this?
    What are your true motivations behind thinking about leaving?
    Would you or anyone else be resentful, and why?
    What is your first impression? Should you distrust it?
    Is there scripture backing your side? Their side?
    Can you turn this into a win win?
    Would you have to settle for compromise?
    Could you leave with grace?
    Would leaving honour God?
    Is God opening other doors? Did he confirm it more than once?
    Do others around you support your decision?
    Does your leader support your decision?
    Are you giving? Will you give more after?
    Are you Growing? Will you grow more after?

    I have found in the past that I usually go through seasons of butting heads, then God usually winds up changing me through the adversity. Sorry for the messy shotgun barrage of questions, but these are what I hammer myself with when I get discontent.

  16. 17Nate
    Jan 27, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    What a time to see you post this, Craig. I’ve been constantly fighting with moving on. I know in my heart that what I want to do where I’m on staff is just pushing the boundaries of what the church here would ever be open to. Though I know in my heart we would truly reach people. Most meetings are like WW3, it’s painful to watch good ideas be passed off every time.

    Willing to risk my job to move forward…

  17. 18Ken
    Jan 28, 2009 at 12:08 am


    I wish I had read this… like… 8 months ago.

    Thanks for the questions.

  18. Jan 28, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I just quit for exactly those reasons. Amen brother.

  19. Jan 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    It all comes down to the two options you put at the end. Stay and get your attitude right, or move on. With that in mind, my wife and I getting away this weekend to make a decision, and then stick with that decision. Thanks Pastor Craig for your great insight and wisdom. These posts are going to be a big help in guiding our decision making process.

  20. Jan 29, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Craig, I really liked this post, and the last point “If you didn’t work at your church, would you worship there?” really hit home. For the last 18 months I worked at my previous church, my wife did not want to worship there, but also did not want to go to another church without me. I was in a bind, I loved what I was doing and how God was using me to impact others, while at the same time I worship there if I didn’t work there. It caused a lot of stress in our relationship.

    Thankfully, God used the falling economy to free me (along with about 20 others) from the situation, and my wife and I have found a new church where we love to worship together.

  21. 22morethanmanysparrows
    Jan 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I read the above post from Jason and thought that maybe this is what God is doing with me too. My church has cut my pay in half because of financial struggles. About 2 years ago I felt God put into my heart a desire to plant a church but pushed it down because I’ve always felt “loyal” to my church and to my pastor. I’ve been in my church for 16 years; but in the last 4 years of having watched my pastors two “girls-gone wild” and that is an understatement - I’ve lost my respect for him, his decisions and who he is. I’ve sat in staff meetings listening to him speak badly about a poor woman who goes to our church and have watched him spend money like there was no tomorrow. His opinions, and his drive is self serving and has hurt many people (the ones who’ve stayed) and the young people of our church. The day he stopped the baptism service to publicly scold some of the youth who had yelled out in excitement for their friend getting baptized was the final disconnect. Staying at my church has made my daughter who is serving in our church and my son who is the college pastor more guarded and suspicious than they ever should be. A long time ago I heard Adrian Rogers say that if you didn’t trust your pastor and back him then you should go. I’ve watched him and served him and had discussions with him and an elder that have gone nowhere. I’ve stayed way too long out of my love for the youth that I’ve led as I didn’t want to abandon them. But I’ve finally decided that it is unhealthier to stay and have them get the idea in their heads that when they grow up that they should become just as lukewarm as most of the people who sit in our church. As someone else already posted… I left years ago now I just have to move my physical body.

  22. 23Mike Vosbrink
    Mar 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    It was ironic that I read these posts AFTER I was asked to resign. Funny thing was, the night before I was asked to resign, I shared with our church that I didn’ tknow how much longer I could continue. God was good and heard my cries. I was let go the next day. I read the four different posts and realized it was a God thing that I moved on. Thanks Craig for such timely comments. I’m praying for the next steps in my ministry.