Forget this! I just want to quit!
02.25.2015 posted by Chris Marchand
It was a Sunday night. The youth were complaining about the games and the fact that the message was too long. Student leaders were spending more time on the sidelines talking than engaging with other students. The adult leaders were disgruntled at the lack of supplies, support, and communication. One said they were “prayerfully” considering dropping out. Two parents, in two separate conversations mentioned that their students were unhappy with the group and they have to force them to come. I opened my email and there was a message about my “unacceptable sportswear” that I wore during Sunday’s sermon.
The critical remarks and influx of negative information just overpowered my system and my soul. I sat. I cried. I said, “God! Forget this! I just want to quit! I’m out!” I sat and saw what I thought was my Calling disintegrating before my eyes. I felt like a failure. I said to myself what I fool I must have been. Had I just made it all up in my mind? Was I just perpetuating a false calling into a ministry and vocation that I had no business being in? Was I even really cut out for this stuff anyway? So I just packed up my office. Handed a letter of resignation and grabbed the hand of God and said, “Lead me Father! I’m lost.”
Everyone has had a desire to quit at some point. You just read my last encounter with quitting. I wish I could stand on the platform of positivity and just shout affirming encouragements at you. We’ve all read the blog posts about How to Encourage your Leaders and 10 Steps on how to be a better encourager to your staff. The truth is that someone reading this really does need to quit right now and someone else reading it needs to continue hanging on a little bit longer. Why? Why would you encourage someone to quit and someone to keep hanging on? Here’s why.
To the person who needs to quit this truth isn’t shocking to you. You have seen the signs, smells, and symptoms of a painful ministry that just isn’t going anywhere. You’ve pulled out every magic trick in your bag. You’ve been to every ministry conference and your shelves are packed with books and resources. All of which have failed. You have stopped creating anything and your ministry is just plug-n-play. In reality you’ve stopped ministering to your students a long time ago and now you just need to be encouraged to let go and grab a hold of God’s hand and ask Him what to do next. And maybe that might be another ministry. Or perhaps, like me, the Father just wants you to hang out in His embrace for a while and remember what it was like to hear His beating heart for what He loves. Sometimes we need to be filled with the courage to know when to quit.
To the person who shouldn’t quit you’re reading this right now and your emotions are running a bit high. Use a long prayerful conversation to bring your reality back into the divine focus of the Father. You had a bad night. It was just one really infuriating email. They won’t always be on the elder board. You still have a lot of good work ahead of you and you have options, networks, and creativity that are still untapped. You’re not finished. You just need to get up off the mat. Dust your feet off. Wipe the blood and ask the Savior to stich up a wound. Grab His hand and say let’s do it again! You cannot quit. Your work isn’t finished and you know that the Lord has said it’s not time to leave. Keep moving forward and keep pressing on. You’re almost there.
Do I quit or do I show up tomorrow? I want to encourage you that while you’re in this space to frequently seek the Lord. Don’t let your emotions control you but don’t ignore them either. Gather all the facts and have a long talk with God. In our culture we look at quitting in a completely negative light. However, that’s not always the case. God wants you to thrive as His creation. And I’ve learned that a lot of places along my journey were not the destination they were simply a pit stop on the way to what He has always planned for me. Sometimes it was a place where I needed to stay and work through it. Other times it was time to move on. This life and your ministry is an odyssey. The only thing you can be sure of is that God is leading and you’re not home yet. So today may you be filled with the courage to stay or the courage to move on and may the Holy Spirit guide you in all these things as you seek the will of Christ Jesus.