Recently, I've had conversations with College Ministers trying to decide if it is time to leave for another job. They had not been offered another job....they were just wondering if their current job had run it's course for them. When is it God's leading and when is it just you? I wanted to write something like "7 Ways You Know it's Time to Move On". But, I don't know a simple formula. Here are some of the issues and ideas to consider.
-Have the job requirements changed to the point that it is no longer the job you took?
This is one question facing College Ministers funded by denominations these days. As giving by churches has changed and the concern for loss of youth to churches has grown, many denominational College Ministers are being asked to do more in the churches. A pastor once told me he visited the hospital every day so they would let him preach on Sunday. He called it "paying the rent". All of us have parts of our job that are not a favorite. I guess part of the equation is, when does the "rent paying" far outweigh what you get your satisfaction from doing?
-"I still loved College Ministry; I just hated students".
One former College Minister told me he realized that he no longer enjoyed being with students. That's a key part of the question of when do you move on...do you still get joy and satisfaction from working with students? That doesn't mean you always want to do midnight coffee, but that the issues of their lives, relationship to the Lord, and questions still matter to you. That is key.
-Am I simply over-reacting to a difficult time or issue?
There will always be seasons of distress or a tough issue that steals some, if not much of the joy from your ministry. But, it is important to realize if your situation has changed permanently or this is simply a brief season. Also, sometimes we let a negative issue become our main focus when it does not have to be. It is there, but it cannot and should not define us and our ministry. Make sure you are not lettting a negative issue become more than it really is.
-Listen to friends you trust.
Wise counsel is huge here. Look for those who know you and your ministry. What do they see happening? Ask some key students how they feel about the ministry (not whether you should leave or not). Feedback from those who know and love you is important.
-Realize if your lack of satisfaction or discomfort is a change of season.
Fifty year olds and 25 year olds don't do College Ministry the same. Maybe it is time for you to consider a change in approach. Can you empower your student leaders more? Are you trying to be places and times that no one else really expects you to be? I strongly believe there are strengths and pluses to every age category in College Ministry. Make sure you are operating out of your "Season Strengths".
What to do while you are considering making a change:
1. Rest. Make sure you are not just simply drained out. Make an effort to take care of you.
2. Look for a ministry project that would give you a great sense of accomplishment in doing....not an impossible one, but one that would give you joy in doing and accomplishing....writing that Bible study series....refurbishing that room, etc. It needs to have a start and a finish.