Since 1996, I have served in church staff positions with a few brief down times. I have come to notice some disturbing trends during my down times.
#1 – Other pastors and other Christians look down upon you if you no longer have a church job, especially if you can’t secure one quickly. Something MUST be wrong with you if you left your church and another one won’t hire you, right? At least that seems to be the logic.
#2 – Pastors and denominational leaders who were once your friends don’t have time for you anymore. They won’t acknowledge your emails or phone calls. If you can’t do anything for them, what value are you to them? It’s almost as if denominational leaders are paid to like you (at least while you’re under their jurisdiction).
#3 – Church members who acted like they couldn’t live without you now act like you don’t exist. Some have even removed me from their social media. I typically spot those when I go into a church. They watch you like a hawk while you’re their hired hand and drop you like a hot potato the moment you leave their church. Did you notice I said THEIR church?
Dear pastor, you are valuable! You may have been hurt for a season, but you are not washed away. Your denominational cronies may have abandoned you, but the God who loves you hasn’t! Church members who only care about what you can do for them are a dime a dozen. Find true friends who will walk with you through thick and thin. You’ll probably have to look outside your denomination, but I guarantee they’re out there.
To pastors who have former pastors in your church, treat them like somebody. Don’t be intimidated by them. They’re really not in a position to harm you anyway. Love them through this time. Give them an opportunity to preach or minister in some capacity. You just might provide healing to their broken spirit.
Finally, don’t base your opinion on an inactive minister based on what you heard from somebody. Ask him for yourself! If something is wrong, ask God to show you.
There are many wounded ministers who gave their lives to serve the Lord, only to find that they showed up to the battlefield with little to no support from others. They, like you, need love. They are people JUST LIKE YOU!