How to Smoothly Quit or Leave a Church Position

Quitting a job is never easy. It is uncomfortable, awkward, and guilt-inducing for many people, which is why so many stay in jobs they hate for years. A little bit of workplace annoyance is normal, but if you start to dread going to work or feel helpless in your position, it is time to reconsider.

Grant Glas
May 12, 2022
Kids Ministry Leadership

When your job is in the church, the feelings of guilt are amplified tenfold. Not only do you worry about letting your manager down, but your church, community, and faith come into question too. Quitting can feel like you’re abandoning your duties to God, but separating your faith and working position is necessary.

If you navigate these choppy waters carefully, you can leave a job that no longer serves you without burning any bridges. Even if there has been some conflict, do your best to remain professional and respectful. Follow these top tips to stay on good terms with your church after leaving your position.  

Should I quit my job?

Church leader thinking about quitting role

The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not it’s time to throw in the towel. If you are feeling temporarily frustrated or tired in your role but have not tried to resolve the root cause of the issue, deciding to quit might be a little premature. So, before making any emotion-driven rash decisions, try and open the door to conversation with your leader.

But, if this question evolves to become “should I quit my job if I’m unhappy?”, the answer is likely yes. Assess other factors in your life that may be weighing you down, but if your working environment at the church continually arises as an issue, it is time to let it go. God wouldn’t want you to stay in a position that no longer serves you.

How to professionally quit a job.

Although the details of how you will leave your church position will vary greatly depending on the nuances of your situation, there are several rules to follow that ensure you do so with respect. After all, that church provided you with an opportunity and welcomed you in, so it is only right that you leave with the same energy. 

Give a fair amount of notice.

Giving a notice of resignation

Most employers expect at least two weeks' notice to be common courtesy, but this isn’t always possible. If your life events dictate that you have to leave sooner, explain it. People are more understanding than we imagine them to be. And, if you have found yourself in a toxic work environment and need to leave immediately, do it for your wellbeing.

Otherwise, being considerate is essential. Giving enough notice for your church to find a replacement is number one when considering how to quit a job gracefully. Don’t leave them in the thick of it because it will only be letting your community and your old coworkers down.

Write a resignation letter.

Writing your resignation letter

Although it is important to tell your supervisor that you are quitting in person, the professional way to do this is by handing them a resignation letter. Sit down with your thoughts to carefully construct a sincere resignation letter. This will show your church leader that you have thought it through and haven’t made the decision lightly.

Unless you believe it to be crucial for the good of your church overall, avoid being negative when you resign. You have probably already tried to alter whatever has been bothering you, so bringing it up again will only cause unnecessary tension. Thank them for the opportunity, but explain you have to move on.

Ask for a reference.

Shaking hands

Whether you are a church volunteer or one of the long-standing church workers, asking for a reference when you leave is essential. Most employers will require an up-to-date reference when accepting you into a new position, so take a weight off your mind by asking for one as soon as you leave.

This is another reason why being respectful is important when leaving a job. You want to have a good reference up your sleeve whether or not your time working for the church ended badly. So more often than not, biting your tongue and saying thank you is the best practice. Every job offers a learning opportunity – give gratitude for that.

Keep attending the church.

Church prayer

If you served at your local church but have recently quit your position, don’t isolate yourself by no longer attending. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first as people enquire why you stopped working there, but unless the environment was toxic, there is no reason you should stop being a part of the community.

Trust in God’s plan. He would not want you to suffer in a role that no longer serves you, so believe in your decision to leave. But don’t sacrifice your part to play in the wider community, as you can still do good from the other side. Give yourself time to discover the true reason why you left that position before finding another church job for yourself.

How to quit a job professionally? It’s simple. Treat your fellow church workers with the respect they deserve while being honest with yourself. Sometimes we outgrow positions, and that is not a bad thing. If your church community fosters a feeling of care and understanding, they will support you in your future endeavors. Leave your position with integrity to ensure you don’t lose your church family in the process.

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