It Can Be Done – 5 Keys to a Successful Ministry Termination

We’ve heard the horror stories. Churches, pastors and ministry staff having a blowup and then a blowout. Those occasions are a shame to the name of Christ and a blot on the cause of Christ!

The Scripture is very clear. Believers should never allow a situation to go that far; yet it happens every day. With so much pride and passion on both sides, can a ministry termination be amicable?

I recently witnessed a successful ministry termination. According to both parties, it went as smoothly as possible. No yelling, no threats, just good old common courtesy and decency. How can successful terminations happen far more often? Here are five observations that can help.

  1. Be filled with the Spirit. In chapters 4-5 of Ephesians, the Apostle gives a clear picture of the “new man” … a life that is Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can resist pride, envy and jealousy; those things which can so quickly ruin what had been a good relationship.
  1. Seek the Will of God. A true Believer will always seek and accept God’s will (plan) above his or her own. Accepting by faith “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” is a testimony to the new life in Christ!
  1. Be cordial, kind and gracious. Christ followers understand a biblically-balanced approach to communication. On one hand we “speak the truth in love” and on the other we “do not communicate to hurt but rather use words that encourage and bring grace to the hearer”. Ephesians 4:15, 29
  1. Accept responsibility in the matter. No one is blameless! Our culture says we’re all victims; it’s “their” responsibility. Yet, all could have either worked harder, been more supportive, not cheated on the expenses, treated others better or not spoken ill of their team members or leaders. Realize your faults and take responsibility for your actions.
  1. Above all, seek first the Kingdom of God. Jesus, the Primal Leader, told His followers to forgo the pursuit of life’s pleasures and stuff and to deny one’s self of worldly ambition. When the admonition to place our focus on God and His work holds first place in our hearts, shocking and sad news does not overwhelm us. Because, unlike many others who are fussing and fighting to achieve what the world calls success, we trust God to give us what is the best for us!