1 - personal sin. Sometimes we do not take into account this simple fact. He is a human and made of clay. A sin may have “overtaken” his ministry there. Hopefully he can repent, get back up and continue on. Pray for him.
2 - someone spread a rumor so widely and viciously about him he had to leave. satan, that jerk, will use anything to harm God’s work. And he may use a rumor about God’s man to strive to thwart God’s plan. As the old song goes, “be careful little ears what you hear...” And, please, do not pass idle gossip on.
3 - burn out - I’m just tired. Any “profession” that calls on someone to be on call 24/7 is rife with opportunities for family problems and/or burnout. Watch for it. We all get tired but if he can’t seem to get his energy back do something nice for him - and let him know he is loved.
4 - leadership frustrations. Even with the greatest leadership in the world there are leadership frustrations. He hits an impasse over an issue. They get at odds with each other and can’t heal. He begins to feel like he is beating his head against the wall.
5 - well intentioned dragons. I read the book with that title written by Marshall Shelly back in 1984 and the concept is as pungent today as then. Some people mean well but you eventually want to run when you see them coming. Nobody wants to hear a problem or an issue from you every time they are around you.
6 - not so well intentioned dragons. No explanation needed!
7 - money - he makes too little to feed his family. Yes, he agreed in 1973 to work for $300 a week and a house that he’d never own...but there is this thing called cost of living. If you can’t keep up and he has to leave love him for loving his family. If you can but don’t - shame on you! If you want a minister to feel that the church WANTS him to leave, nothing speaks as loudly as not increasing his pay.
8 - he got fired. It will rarely, very rarely, be stated this way. Most often he will be given the chance to resign. I’m sure I’d appreciate the grace of being able to leave quietly...but it’s still being fired.
9 - he should never have preached in the first place. We need good deacons, teachers, elders. I know two of the men dad served under as elders for a number of years had preached at one time. They weren’t effective or for some other reason didn’t stay in it - but they have blessed the church for years in other roles. We need to encourage young men to preach but some we need to encourage just as much to not preach but be great leaders in other ways.
10 - he was given the opportunity to move - we were ready for a change.
11 - the grass was greener elsewhere - or at least spray painted to look like it. Careful here preacher. There are problems in every supposed Paradise.
12 - he felt he could do more elsewhere. It may be that he just felt he could be more of an influence somewhere else. There is nothing wrong with that. But, preacher guys, remember bigger isn’t always better! Would you rather deeply influence 100 people who go to heaven and feel you blessed their life by helping them see the Savior or have more people but less of an influence on those people?
13 - he felt he was no longer effective there. This is where this article started. I’ve left places not because I no longer loved them or they me but because I just felt I’d done the best I could and they needed someone to come in and help move them in some areas and ways I could not.
14 - it was a bad match from the beginning. Ministry is a lot like marriage. Some folks shouldn’t get married to each other. In life, that’s a tragedy that probably won’t be fixed without sin. In ministry you can part ways and still love each other...from a distance.
15 - he felt taken for granted. I don’t think there is much we can do about this one. It seems inevitable that over time people will begin to think of “your wonderful” as the norm and get so comfortable or accustomed to it that you no longer feel wanted or effective. Part of this would involve us as ministers considering why we do what we do. Is it for the appreciation or for the Lord. But, folks, remember - everyone likes to be appreciated now and then. The Lord set that example.
16 - family matters. He may be happy as a convertible driver in April :) but his wife may not be. Or his kids may have reached a struggle that makes it where he needs to move. Contrary to some people’s beliefs - he has a bigger responsibility to wife and kids of his own and getting them to heaven than to “there.”
17 - he wasn't encouraged to grow. Listen, your preacher needs mentors he can look up to. He needs retreats he can ATTEND. He needs seminars, books, down times and challenging times. If he does not grow he cannot help you grow. Let him attend a good webinar now and then :). Seriously, he can get so wrapped up in his work and so busy that he doesn't take time or find time or feel he would be given time to grow. Encourage his growth and development.
18 - he didn't have any mentors. Encourage him to look up to the right folks.
19 - your elders don't think any preacher should stay longer than ___ (3, 5, 10 you fill in the blank) years. Let me sound like Paul - Oh foolish...
20 - he doesn't think anyone should stay longer than ___ (again, your blank there). Maybe you could find him a good counselor.
21 - he got tired...I’m finishing this at 4:50am - yep....I’m tired. I'm sure there are more, so add to it...
zzzzzzzzzz - God bless you all.