By Ron Cook

Ron and his wife Rodetta have been married for 41 years. They have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. Ron ministers to hundreds of pastors annually through mentorship, counseling, and by phone. He has been a Pastor for 40 years and understands the stress of ministry, and wants to share his longevity in ministry with other pastors and help them finish well.

    8 Things to Do When You’re Ready to Quit Ministry

    Wednesday, February 16, 2022

    By Chuck Lawless

    Some days in ministry are really hard. God’s people can be troublesome, and few seem to understand the weight that pastors and church staff carry on their shoulders. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pastors simply worn out and ready to leave ministry as I see today.

    If that’s where you are, maybe one of these suggestions will be helpful to you:

    1. Be careful about making decisions in a storm. I’ve written at my own site about a sermon illustration making this point, but here’s the gist of it: if you change directions when you’re flying in a storm, you might find out you’re headed in the wrong way when you come out of the clouds. And, under God’s grace, you will come out of the clouds at some point.

    2. Review your call to ministry. I don’t know about your call, but I know mine was so clear to me that it would be hard to walk away completely. I might choose to do something else in ministry – including going bi-vocational or co-vocational – but I cannot escape my calling. It continues to ground me in my work no matter what I face.

    3. Before you leave, be sure to talk with someone who’s “been there.” It might be someone who’s been there and worked through it, or it may be someone who stepped away. You might find from the latter that stepping away too quickly doesn’t resolve the issues. If you’re not already talking to others at Church Answers Central, I encourage you to join that community. It’s worth the investment.

    4. Make sure you have a team of prayer warriors praying daily for you. I’ve heard too many stories of hurting pastors who don’t seek prayer support until they’ve already decided to move on. Get some folks praying proactively for you before you make that decision.

    5. Look for just glimpses of God’s glory in your church. It’s easy to see only the negative—and even magnify it—when we’re hurting. That’s when we need to pray the prayer of Moses: “Please, let me see your glory” (Exo 33:18). When you pray that prayer, then, be sure to watch for what God shows you. Trust Him with anticipation.

    6. If you haven’t taken some time off (either weekly or for vacation), take that time now. I’m frankly still learning to do this, learned the importance but I’ve of taking some time to “play.” I’m usually amazed by how much my perspective changes when I’ve had rest and relaxation.

    7. See if your church would give you a one-month sabbatical. I know churches don’t always grant this request, but it may not hurt to ask. Maybe the leaders will recognize your need and grant it out of love for you and your family. Once in a while, congregations will surprise us . . .

    8. If you do decide to leave, don’t let the enemy consume you with bitterness. Nobody wins when you carry bitterness into the future. In fact, your bitterness will become an idol if you don’t let it go—and that just makes things worse. Work hard to leave with a clear conscience and a clean heart.

    If this post speaks to your situation, let us know how we might pray for you.

    Click here to read the original blog on

    Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at

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