For my weekly Pastor’s Corners, I write 30 to 40 in advance and choose an appropriate one each week to include in our church bulletins. The following was written 10 years ago. Although it’s no longer applicable, it may still be interesting, so let me post it again.
I plan to serve at Seoul Baptist church until I retire. However, if the following things happen, I will leave earlier.
Before I explain the circumstances that might force me to leave, let me tell you when I won’t leave.
An elderly pastor with a lengthy experience in ministry once told me: “If there are ministries to be done and the church members love you, don’t ever leave.” So I won’t leave as long as people are saved and you want me to stay. I won’t resign simply because some big church invites me to be their senior pastor or a bigger ministry opportunity opens up. If those reasons could sway me, I would have left a long time ago. But if the following things happen, it will be time for me to go.
First, I will leave if church members become unwilling to make sacrifices. True ministry always requires sacrifice. I believe that a ministry without sacrifice is nothing but a hobby or pastime. It’s the pastor job to motivate people to sacrifice. If that doesn’t happen in a church, its pastor is not doing his job. And when he’s not living up to his responsibility, he should resign.
Second, I will leave if rational thinking prevails in church ministry. I’m not saying that Christians should be intentionally irrational, but we have to realize that God’s commands for us are often beyond our understanding and ability. If we only choose to do things that we can do that have a high probability of success, we won’t be able to do God’s work. Sometime we need to make decisions contrary to common sense, and launch projects expecting God’s supernatural help. If ministry is done just like a secular business without any supernatural working, I will leave because I don’t want to be at a place where God is not allowed to work.
If I ever publicly say I’m leaving, I will do so no matter what. I have seen many pastors announce that they’re leaving but change their minds at the urging of their church members. Even when this happens, they eventually leave because after the church members’ separation anxiety subsides, they feel resentment toward their pastor, feeling that he tried to abandon them, and force their pastor to leave. I don’t want to make the same mistake.
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