• Your Decision to Leave
So you have decided to leave your position as Children’s Leader at your church. Perhaps “going for the door” was not an “easy” decision to make. On the other hand, it might have just been the “obvious” decision to make. God has been speaking to you and you have agreed, “it was the time” to turn in your resignation. Do you have a place to go?
If you have decided to turn in your resignation, then here are My Top Seven Things to do before leaving:
1. Use only “One Reason” for leaving! Of course, the only good reason is that the Lord has led you. All other reasons, which might be good ones, should not be shared with anyone from the Church. Your written resignation, your public statements and your personal discussions should reflect this one reason. Failure to do so might give your future references difference stories why you left.
2. Give an “Appropriate Notice!” A good rule of thumb is “a week for every year served” or a month for every five years, under good circumstances. However, with conditions less than perfect, a quick exit signals issues. A proper resignation is one that you discuss with your Pastor, so you are agreed about the terms of your resignation.
3. “Finish Strong” before you leave! They are not paying you to pack so work. No “floating!” Rather, you need take the time to prepare your leaders to carry on without you. Leave a “Map,” This might require a “labor of love.” Put together a file or notebook of sources, resources, plans, future dates, personnel and for those taking the reins after you is appropriate. This is one thing you can work on before you leave.
4. An exit requires “Saying Goodbye!” It is appropriate to say “goodbye” to the kids, parents and leaders that you have worked with during your tenure. It is also appropriate to send some letters of appreciation to your key leaders and friends. Lack of this social grace is offensive to good relationships.
5. Take the “High Road” in all communication about your decision. Avoid discussing the extenuating circumstances and/or the issues with personalities involved in your departure. This could just follow you out the door. Show your maturity and professionalism by wanting what is best for the unity of the church. “Much of what could be said, should not to be said.” It won’t help now.
6. Create “Good Will” as leave! Do not “burn your bridges” behind you. Keep the “doors open,” you might need either: their references, their involvement or their resources later. Purging your file folder and culling your computer records is appropriate, but leaving no information for those who follow you is improper and creates no “good will.” Avoid taking what is not yours—no “good will” in that!
7. Reflect on “Lessons Learned.” A written effort will serve you going forward. Make it your resolve to have a fresh start with these lessons in mind. This might be really helpful to you as you start again in new place of ministry.