A pastor’s resignation has certain effects. We will look at 2 parts on this subject. Part 1, the effect on the church. Part 2, the effects on the pastor. We are not looking at the resignation in a church that is going through division and hardships. There are different implications in those situations. We are looking at the effects of a resignation when the church is doing well.
The number 1 feeling that surrounds the resignation in the church is disappointment. When the pastor is loved and valued, the resignation causes disappointment and hurt. Many do not understand why. “Why now?” I know that the sense of feeling deals with what will happen after the pastor is gone. Will the church continue to go forward? Will we lose people in the process? People place a lot of trust and hope in the pastor and when he resigns they wonder what will happen. I am a firm believer that if God leads a pastor to a new ministry then He already has a replacement for him.
The other feeling during resignation is betrayal. Even though the pastor is following God’s will, it leaves the feeling that the pastor has betrayed His flock. In fact, the resignation hurts the church family. There is no easy way telling them. There is no easy way to let them down.
The last feeling of resignation is insecurity. The congregation that is being left without a pastor, might feel like they are not “good enough” for the pastor to stay. They are left wondering, “what did we do wrong?” Could we have done something to keep our pastor?
All of these feelings are a natural result of losing a pastor. Of course people are disappointed. As a matter of fact, I would feel as if I had failed in ministry if the people were not a little disappointed. But if God is in it, those feelings will be resolved when the new pastor arrives. As for betrayal, it is a common feeling. I know it probably feels like a husband who has gone to find another wife. The feeling of betrayal may be a result but we must remember that a pastor must follow the will of God.
Finally, every congregation will feel the insecurity. Words cannot take those feelings away. This is only resolved when the church realizes that God orchestrated the events surrounding the resignation and that it was not because the church was not “good enough” but rather when someone follows the will of God it has nothing to do with the congregation’s insufficiency. The church must realize that the pastor loves that congregation very much and it hurts him also. When we are separated from those we love and care for, it should never be easy.
Now, I realize that this whole process hurts and it leaves us with many questions. I do not have all of the answers but I believe that God will help the church through it.