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How do you know when it is time to go? When is it time to step back from ministry? Is there a good time to make a change? The ConneXions Model for Building Healthy Leaders not only serves as a framework for building healthy leaders, training children, making disciples or even teaching theology, it is a great tool for evaluation ‒ evaluating programs, policies and even the condition of one’s heart. Have you ever paused and examined your ministerial service in light of the “5 C’s”?
Everything that we do must be done out of union with Christ, with Him as the focus, the goal, the starting point and everything in between.
- When Christ ceases to be the focus, the center of everything, it is probably time to go.
- When you begin to love ministry more than Jesus, it is time to go.
- When you begin to love the brethren, those you serve, more than Jesus, it is time to go.
- When you begin to love your calling and your contribution more than Jesus it is time to go.
We come to the cross alone. One day we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ alone, but in between the Christian life is meant to be lived in community. If you serve in ministry long enough someday, sometime, someone will come along and you won’t like them. It is the power of the Gospel that allows us to dwell in such circumstances. No power is needed to work, to live with someone that you like. That is why Scripture tells us that all men will know we are disciples of the Lord by the love that we have for one another.
- If you say that you love God but you do not love your brother, it is time to go.
- If you engage in gossip, back-biting, territorialism and cliques, it is time to go.
- If you avoid meetings, many of which are designed to engender community, or if you avoid interaction with your co-workers, it is time to go.
- If you are at odds with another person in ministry and either can’t or won’t be reconciled, it is time to go.
- If you no longer trust your leaders, if you no longer respect your co-workers and the issues can’t or won’t be resolved, it is time to go.
Ministries are filled (and led) by people with character flaws. By the grace of God, we are not what we used to be, but we are still not what we would like to be. People bring baggage with them, hurts, anger, wounds, dysfunction and trauma. There comes a time, though, when ongoing character issues must be addressed. The Gospel is transformative, the Holy Spirit is transformational. Character issues must be dealt with.
- If reputation (how others view you) and image (how you view yourself) is the basis for the decisions you make, it may be time to go.
- If you respond to leadership and authority with rebellion or resentment, it may be time to go.
- If you are quick to rebuke without offering encouragement or a solution, it may time to go.
- If you resist accountability, regularly practice poor stewardship of time, finances, and other resources it is time to go.
- If there is no one who can speak into your life, it is time to go.
The Lord is the author, the leader, the director, the visionary of calling. Every one of us in ministry has simply joined Him in what He is doing.
- If our personal vision, interests and desires become more important than the vision and direction of the Lord’s calling, it is time to go.
- When comfort causes us to resist hearing the Lord’s voice, it may be time to go.
- When we no longer delight in obedience, it may be time to go.
Thankfully, competencies can be learned. The Lord can provide others do what we cannot, but still we must consider this category of ministry.
- If we are no longer willing to learn, it may be time to go.
- If you are stagnant, static, and unteachable, then it is time to go.
- If there is something that you would rather be doing, then it may be time to go.
So where do we go? First, we go back to the foot of the cross in repentance for our failures. We go to the throne room of God to find grace in our time of need. We go to the one who generously gives wisdom and then we run to the arms of Jesus for a renewal of union and fellowship with Him.
He is the one we are working for, serving, honoring, representing and loving. He is the one who has given everything we need ‒ the very provision of his riches in glory through Christ Jesus, our Lord. In Him is Life. In Him is the ability to work together. In Him is the shaping of our character. In Him is the plan for our lives and ministry. In Him is the ability to grow, to learn and to act. He has everything we need because He is everything we need. What a joy to serve Him.