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Best way to offer pastoral resignation

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by KrisS, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. KrisS

    KrisS New Member

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    After many years of service at our church, my husband is preparing to resign from his current pastoral ministry. It is not a time of conflict or issue in the church, all is headed in the right direction, but we know it is time to go and we know some will be very upset by this change.

    He feels very confident about the departure, that it is being handled in a healthy and God honoring way - leaving well, so not really looking for counsel on that, but having never resigned from a pastorate before, we are just seeking some very practical advise on how to deliver the actual resignation news.

    Does he meet with the key church leaders (such as trustees) first and then announce to the body? Does he announce to all the membership at the same time? (the thought of our leaders deserve to know first, but also worried about starting a gossip storm before the church hears directly from him)

    If he is to tell leaders first, does he call them together in one meeting or does he go to them each individually - like visit them at home?

    For telling the church body, does he call a congregational meeting or does he announce this at a service?

    Also, how much detail should he include in his resignation letter about why we are leaving, where God might be moving us, etc...? (some of which we do not even know at this juncture) Does he include more detail in a letter to the leaders than he does to the rest of the congregation - or the same information to all?

    (BTW - for those who are wondering why I am on here asking and not him, he is sitting here with me, but like many pastors - he is not much a social media participant....)
     
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  2. Rockson

    Rockson Active Member

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    I'm not clergy but wouldn't the best place to ask a question like this be with say top leaders within your denomination....let's say a superintendent where they can give sound advice with much experience? Perhaps even such higher leaders can visit the church on a day such an announcement was made which might bring comfort the people they you've involved men of good reputation to help you and your church to work through the process. It's just people with much experience of leadership have more knowledge of what's best for congregations I think. Just a thought.
     
  3. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Kris, it is always a good idea to meet with the church leadership first. Nothing is worse than rumor or secondhand news. A consensus on how/when to inform the membership will go a long way to establishing a smooth transition to his successor. If your husband enjoys a warm and intimate relationship with his parishioners, he may want to request a fellowship time so that he can interact with as many people as possible. Saying goodbye is important for your church family, as well as you and your husband.

    SDG!
     
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  4. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant Well-Known Member

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    Kris,
    Reformed has hit on the right 1st steps. Let leadership know. That would include those who are going to have to lead during the transition such as, but not exclusive to, Deacons, leadership Council and any others you might think. But be certain they don't tell 10 of their closest friends before you can announce it to the church.

    I told the church I was retiring in the midst of a sermon on Sunday morning. It was about following the leadership of God in our lives. That was how I framed it.

    Give the people a chance to get used to the idea so plan out the sermon material until the final Sunday. Tell them that you love them and that you are honestly following the will of the Lord.

    Praying for you all.
     
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  5. Tennessee Gal

    Tennessee Gal Member
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    My husband contacted the deacons and asked them not to say anything to the congregation. He announced it the following Sunday morning.
    On our last Sunday he wrote a loving note in the church bulletin. The church had a farewell luncheon for us after the morning worship service.
     
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  6. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    As a pastor I can say that all of the examples you listed may be reasonable. However, since you are the ones there only you can know what would be best as you know the people. Obviously, and I am quite sure it is your plan, to do it in a way that thinks about the people and expresses your love for them.

    It has always been my practice to get with primary or pastoral leadership first in any announcement or plan I have had. However, having them all in one place and making a single announcement may work well. The question in my mind is do you need to work out an exit strategy? Leaving sudden and in a lurch would be a shock and may leave some people bitter.
     
  7. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    So, it seems all went well? If so, praise God!

    If you do not mind sharing, what is your next step?
     
  8. Reynolds

    Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    I feel it's best to announce it to the congregation. If you tell deacons, the entire church will know it before you announce it.
     
  9. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Meet with the leadership on the Sunday morning of the resignation. Resign during the sermon, but do so with the understanding that the folks are not abandoned.

    Let them know that the resignation doesn't mean you are immediately leaving, but that at the end of the month or in ??? weeks you will no longer be the pastor. Until then, as a good pastor you are there for them.

    That way, folks have both time and can express the grief necessary. Less false accusations will be made, and folks will buy into the situation as they see you determinedly faithful and faultless to the final goodbye.

    This will also allow the pastor to preach unfettered, to cry with the membership, to plead with the lost, to express that following Christ is ongoing growth, and that the ultimate hope of any pastor is that the folks know Christ is such a manner that they use the tools learned to learn more, to grow more, and to love more.

    It will also allow folks to help pack up the vast library and materials which allows them to express their continued care and that need to share.
     
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