8 Signs It Might Be Time to Resign


When I came on staff at Granger Community Church in 1994, leaving never crossed my mind. I suppose if I had thought about it very long, I knew I wouldn’t be there forever. But on that particular day, as far as I was concerned, I was in it for the long haul.

After five, ten, even 15 years, I was never tempted to leave. I was getting calls from other organizations and churches who wanted me to consider joining their team, but I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Then, after 19-years on staff, I started to sense something different might be in my future. At first, it scared me. It felt disloyal. I didn’t share my thoughts with anyone for a long time. When I did, I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth: I’m beginning to wonder if my season here is coming to a close?

Just eleven days prior to my 20th anniversary, I walked away from the place I helped build, staff, pastor, equip, and lead. It was way harder than I ever imagined, but I knew I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do.

Perhaps you’ve also been at your organization 20 years - or maybe only two or three years. The question remains the same: How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye and move on? I’ve had the opportunity to talk to scores of leaders over the years about their transition - and our team at Vanderbloemen has the privilege to talk to hundreds every year. Read the following list to help you discern whether or not it's time to seek another position.

It might be time to resign if…

      1. Your heart no longer beats fast for the mission.

This doesn’t mean the mission is wrong - it might just be indicative that God is calling you to something else. (A good book to read if you're at this crossroads is Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels).

      2. You begin to hear things come out of your mouth that you don’t really think or feel.

You are going through the motions, saying and doing the right things, but it has become very inauthentic to what you really believe.

      3. You find yourself watching the clock at the end of the day.

Being anxious to leave your workplace and be somewhere else is a strong indicator that you're no longer invested.

      4. Your main reason to stay is because of the paycheck.

If you know in your heart that you’d walk away in a hot second if you had another way to support your family, your heart isn't in it.

      5. At the end of your vacation, you begin to get tense and dread going back to work.

This is a sign that you no longer enjoy and find value in what you do.

      6. You don't trust your leader.

Outwardly you are supporting your leader, but inwardly you find yourself questioning her more all the time. If you are honest with yourself, you no longer trust her (or him).

      7. You no longer tithe to your own church. (Only applicable if you work at a church).

Giving is a heart issue, and it often times indicates you don’t trust or believe in the way the church is handling the money.

      8. You are worn out with "sideways energy."

Rather than investing your energy in moving the mission forward, you are worn out with sideways energy—debating leadership philosophy and arguing over methods. You feel like you are banging your head against the wall over the same issues again and again.

Of course, these reasons taken individually aren’t necessarily an indication that you should leave your organization. It might mean you need to take a break, initiate an important conversation, or perhaps see a counselor.

But sometimes you are being “nudged” toward something new. Dr. Henry Cloud, in Necessary Endings, writes, “Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on.”

As a leader, you might feel like you are letting your organization or team down by leaving. But many times I’ve seen the departure of a leader be the impetus for someone to stop relying on a person and begin putting their focus back on God.

Cloud writes, “Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.” This is true both for the person who is making a change, and for those who are impacted by the change.

What are other indicators that God may be calling you to a new role in his kingdom?

Adapted from an article originally published on Vanderbloemen.com.