Most ministry leaders, specifically pastors, tend to leave their ministry after 3 to 4 years. It is an unfortunate statistic that limits a ministry’s ability to flourish. I have heard from several ministry leaders regarding this issue. Here are some reasons why ministry leaders quit after 3 years:
1. The honeymoon phase ends.
The fanfare that previously surrounded their leadership has subsided. Immediate buy-in to suggested changes becomes rare.
2. Your flaws become more obvious to others.
Everyone begins to see them for who they are, including their flaws. And people seem eager to point them out.
3. The ministry’s flaws become more obvious to you.
The thought of, “Now I know why the prior ministry leader left,” creeps into their mind. They now see the organizational issues, the employee issues, and, unfortunately, the politics of the ministry.
4. Dreams become work.
It was fun to dream. But it takes work to make a dream become reality. There are numerous hurdles to overcome. They wonder if their vision is worth the work.
5. Uncertainty of the next step.
They have had some early success but are now unsure of the next step. They struggle to find motivation. They begin to think it is best for someone else to take their turn at leading the ministry.
If you find yourself in this situation, this post may help.
Recommended books for those who are in their 3rd year of ministry leadership
If you are in your third year of ministry, take some time to read these books. These books will help you understand your current situation and, hopefully, motivate you to push through this common slump.
Most leaders will face a point when fun transitions to difficulty. This is the dip. Seth Godin discusses when leaders should quit and when they should push through the dip.
A follow-up to his best seller, Good to Great, Collins describes how some organizations thrive during times of uncertainty and chaos.
Harvard Business Review compiles their 10 most significant articles on strategy. These articles continue to guide much of our current organizational strategy thought. It is a must-read for any leader.
For more on this topic, check out this article by Thom Rainer.