Almost 17 years ago, in 1990, I stepped into the pulpit of the church I started in Greensboro, North Carolina and resigned.  I was tired, exhausted, and I had nothing else to say.  So I did what I had talked about doing — I quit.  Don’t quit. It’s not the solution you think it will be.  Here’s why I quit and why you shouldn’t:

  • I always wondered if I could make a living doing something else.  Well, I could and did — I made a very good living.  But what I really wanted to do — in my darkest moments and in my best times — what I really wanted to do was pastor a church.  Trust me, if you’re smart enough to be a pastor, you’re smart enough to make a living doing something else.  But you will not find it satisfying, fulfilling, or energizing.  God’s call is powerful. 
  • I was tired.  I had started a church in an unchurched area of Guilford County, near Greensboro.  We met in the Airport Marriott Hotel for 3-years, grew to over 300 in attendance, hired staff, bought property, built a 13,000-square foot worship center, and dealt with a lot of stuff along the way.  Members saw my exhaustion and suggested I take 3-6 months off.  Instead I quit.  I should have listened to the people who loved me and were trying to help me.  I wanted to be superman, but I couldn’t fill the suit.  Get some rest, take some time off, go on vacation, see a counselor, but don’t quit.
  • I thought I could get back into the pastorate easily.  I found out that minister friends of mine lost interest in our friendship when I was no longer a pastor.  Prospective churches would always ask, “Why did you leave the pulpit?”  Pastor search committees were not interested in someone who had quit.  I spent 12-years waiting for the opportunity to get back in vocational ministry.  Don’t quit.
  • I thought nothing I did made a difference.  Almost three years ago I returned to the church I started for the first time since I left in 1990.  One woman stood up during the service before I preached and said, “I have been praying for 14-years that you would go back in the ministry.  Tonight my prayers are answered.”  Others stood and spoke of how much Debbie and I had meant to them.  We all cried.  Someone cares what you do and has been blessed by it.  Don’t quit.
  • I thought God had given up on me.  Clearly, that was not the case.  I had given up on God.  Or at least, that’s how I felt.  But during all those years away from the pulpit, I knew that my years in ministry were my best years.  Now I’m back, which is a long story in itself.  I still get tired, discouraged, and fed-up sometimes.  But I won’t quit again.  Don’t quit.  It doesn’t solve anything. 

If you’re thinking, “Well, he doesn’t know how bad things are” — believe me, I do.  Call me, email me, or make some time to come see me before you quit.  The kingdom needs you and you are making a difference.  Don’t quit.