Profile of Pastors Who Turn Their Backs on Ministry
Pastors Quit Because They Were Never Called
Pastors quit because they were never called, at least not by God, to begin with. As hard as it to imagine, there are men and women serving as church leaders that God never called to ministry leadership. These Preachers can walk away because they were not born to complete such a task. Many years ago, and before the Lord sent me, I was watching a reality police show. The officer being filmed was asked what he did before working in law enforcement. His response, and now understanding the “call,” was stunning: “before this, I was a Pastor, but I quit.”
When the Lord God called me to ministry in October 1997, I wasn’t attending church. I resisted this “call” for six (6) years until it was no longer feasible to do so. Well, I could have continued but in the most literal sense, my sanity would have been the price of disobedience. This statement represents not one iota of hyperbole! Nevertheless, when God calls, it is impossible to ignore and even more so to “walk away.”
Here are things about the irresistibility of the “call” you should know:
1. God does not “ask,” He commands. When the Lord commands, it cannot be brushed aside, or treated as trivial. While I would never say one (1) does not have a choice because we all have free will, it is as close to stepping over that line as God gets! We have a choice, but “insanity” (read Daniel 4) which comes with refusal is not an appealing option.
2. We cannot hide from Him. Simply sticking your “spiritual” head in the sand and expecting God’s demands to go away is folly. Those who successfully “walk away” can because the command, and thus spiritual compulsion, was never present to begin with. They hide because the Lord was never looking for them to begin with (at least not in this capacity).
3. God always prevails. Those who believe they have quit are, in effect, accusing the Lord of being “weaker” than themselves. When God “commands,” He will prevail one (1) way or another. Either those He sends submit or He gets someone else. I remind us, the price is way too high for refusal.
In summary, most who “quit” Pastoral ministry , or even the prophetic calls (successfully anyway), were never called. While they proclaimed God sent them, they lived a “lie” and by walking away further accuse God of weakness because they have dome something no one ever has – won a battle against the Most High.
Pastors Quit Ministry Due to Weakness
Another reason Pastors quit ministry is because of personal weakness and lack of trust in God. This group, and unlike the last, I assume were truly “called.” As my sister-in-law often reminds me: “some were sent and some just went”! The attacks of Satan simply overwhelm some of God’s men. I do not point the finger because we all suffer “lapses” of faith.
Accordingly, there are certain character traits “inherited” as a foundational component of the “call” to lead His people. Among these, and even more obvious than faith level, is an ultra-gentle heart of a Shepherd. The result is most often the real “messengers” allow the Sheep to abuse them and their family as well. At some point, and left unaddressed, this becomes too overwhelming, and they quit.
Here are some things about church leaders who are “called” yet quit anyway:
1. Their boycott will never be permanent (at least without forfeiting their lives). Unlike fools who dare stand in a place God did not command, the true called can never expect God to “release them.” The Prophet Jeremiah stated this in unequivocal terms in Jeremiah 20. He opened His Word to “us and this gift comes with a price. Quitters can run, but as King David asked: “where can I fell from the Lord’s presence”?
2. Quitters unalterably damage themselves, their families, and the world. In all ways, real Preachers have given up on God by walking away, even knowing it will never be permanent. They have abandoned God, His people, and their faith. Eventually, they will return in some capacity, but it will never be as the Lord originally intended.
3. They have destroyed the faith of others. Let me be clear: one’s faith is their responsibility which we will give an account of to God. However, the Bible says that there are those “weaker in the faith” and warns against discouraging (stumbling) them. Church Pastors who walk away and in plain view of His people, cause eternal damage they cannot comprehend.
In summary, the true called through personal weakness and lack of dependence on the Lord. Personal weakness, however, shouldn’t be in the discussion according to the Apostle Paul (who said): “therefore I have gloried in my weakness because when I am weak, the Lord is strong.”
Preachers Quit Because Jesus Demands it
The final group of Preachers are those who quit because Jesus commanded it. Scripture is full of examples of God’s people rejecting His message and thus, the servant sent to deliver it. Jesus told His Disciples (later Apostles): “And if any place will not receive you and listen to you, when you leave, shake the dust off your sandals as a witness against them. It will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom and Gomorrah than them.”
Let's be clear: there is a difference between "quitting a particular ministry effort", and walking away altogether. Here is what you will find interesting: 99% of church leaders who “quit”, altogether, believe themselves “dust kickers”. Yes, Pastors lie to themselves as coping mechanisms for massive lapses in faith.
Here are situational examples where it may be time to “shake the dust off” for church leaders:
1. Church members have become openly abusive. Without question, when we stand on God’s Word, resistance forms. Ha Shatan (Satan) has disciples as well. If he directly attacked Jesus during His forty (4) day wilderness experience, should we expect less? The Word of God, when boldly preached, brings out both the “best” and “worst” in people. I am not suggesting leaving when people are abusive, but one (1) must inquire of the Lord anyhow.
2. The church is stagnant. Based on how long this stagnancy has lingered, it may be time to move on. Only a fool, however, will abandon their post without God’s permission. Churches get in these ruts when people have stopped listening, or church direction has been compromised.
3. Family Issues. Besides impeachable personal conduct, nothing brings a ministry leader down as quickly as a compromised family situation. According to the Book of 1st Timothy 3, our homes must be in order prior to leading the House of God.
In summary, there are times when walking away from a church ministry is not only appropriate but blessed by the Lord. If a congregation no longer desires to follow a leader, and for no articulated biblical reason, Preachers can quit, according to Jesus, but must be released by the Holy Spirit. However, this is a far from “walking away from God.”
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