We will all face the decision of whether to stay or if it is time to go. Whether in ministry, your job, your home, in many areas of life, the day will come when you need to make the decision. At the 2016 Children’s Pastors Conference, I attended a breakout session entitled “How to Know if it is Time to Go or Stay”.
The breakout was based on three assumptions:
- People were there because they were personally wondering about this issue
- That there are good reasons to stay in a difficult situation, and
- There are good reasons to move on from a difficult situation.
The breakout leaders shared their personal stories which resonated with what I went through a few years ago when I faced this decision. I wrote a little about that shortly after I left that position in a post entitled, “Help Me Find It“.
When we face that decision and we seek to hear a clear direction from God, one begins to search the Scripture. Studying the Bible, we see that God does not use one way to speak to people. Sometimes it is an audible voice, others times a silent voice, a burning bush, angels, and the list can go on. The breakout did not give answers whether people should stay or go, but rather offered guidance in what to ask when faced with a decision about staying in a ministry position or not.
- How does this fit into God’s purpose for me? (Romans 8:28)
- Do I have a sense of importance for what I am doing? (Philippians 3:14)
- Do I have approval of spiritual leaders? (Acts 13:1-3)
- Has God given me and others a sense of peace about this? (Colossians 3:15)
- Have I seen God produce spiritual fruit through me? (John 15:6)
All of these resonated with me when I knew it was time to leave my position as a children & youth pastor in the local church. I had consulted with other spiritual leaders who approved, and I sought my wife’s sense of direction and her answer, even down to when we should depart, was identical to what I had heard from God. We both had a peace that it was time to move on even though we loved many people there, we were seeing spiritual fruit, and sensing growth in the children and youth we would be leaving. I even questioned God several times during the last few months before I made it public and each time God “slapped me in the face” and said “No, this is when you are to depart”.
Leaving was hard, but because we had that peace, we could share that peace with others who were determined that we should stay. In fact one person told me that they were praying that God would smack me in the face and tell me to stay. Because I had that peace, and my questioning God about the decision, I could honestly tell them that God did smack me, but He said it was time to go.
The decision to stay or go may not be easy, but I know from experience that God will guide you. I have experienced the peace of God that passes all understanding several times in my life. It is the times that I literally cry out to God, walking around speaking verbally to Him, fervently praying, that I hear Him the loudest and He showers me with His peace with the guidance.
Are you facing a decision about whether to stay or go? Seek God’s direction and peace. Have others outside of the situation pray for you and offer counsel. If you are facing a decision, please feel free to contact me so I can pray for you to see His direction and experience His peace.