Why I Resigned (and You Should, Too)

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Shawn Lovejoy: "After much prayer and reflection, I have made a private decision I need to make public here today."

After much prayer and reflection, I have made a private decision I need to make public here today.

Effective immediately, I am resigning as the leader of our church.

Why am I taking this drastic measure? The answer is simple: The challenges of leadership here are simply more than I can currently handle. It is difficult for me to admit, but I have been in over my head for some time now. I am inadequate to lead this church.

I simply cannot do it alone or be in charge any more. For a long time, I have carried the burden, the debt, the decisions, the pain and the weight of trying to lead this church to greatness.

I thought for a long time that I could do it. I thought I could turn it around. I thought that I could help our church grow and reach more people. I thought I was capable of leading our team and our leaders in accomplishing our mission. I have worked hard to discipline and grow myself as a leader, preacher and visionary for our church.

More so than ever before, however, God has shown me that I am not the man for this job. For reasons like this, I have made the decision to resign.

All that being said, I have no plans to leave the church.

I just don’t want to be the leader anymore. My plan is to continue to serve here, and you will see me around. I may not be as visible, but I will be here. Don’t be alarmed by this course of action. When new leadership is securely in place, I covenant to you as a church family: I will follow His leadership.

In fact, I have no intentions of resigning from my actual position as lead pastor of our church. I am confident that God called me here for a purpose. I know for today that God has called me to be lead pastor of this church. Therefore, I am not resigning from my position as lead pastor.

Shawn Lovejoy Shawn Lovejoy is the founding and lead pastor of Mountain Lake Church, the Directional Leader of churchplanters.com, and the author of 'The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors," which released in April 2012. He lives near Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Tricia and three children.

More from Shawn Lovejoy or visit Shawn at http://www.shawnlovejoy.com/

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  • Bob

    Oh brother.

  • Russell

    So awesome of an article. We must resign so that God is honored

  • Korrey Ostler

    I resign, Hey I also wrote a book called “GOD FOR MEN” On Amazon’s ebook library. it’s only $4.77. Which is how I can resign so young. I’m 23, Former U.S. Marine.

  • Mike

    The article is just a gimmick, there is no resignation.
    Paul never resigned as a leader. Peter never resigned as a leader. Moses never resigned as a leader. Jesus never resigned s a leader, nor did he cop out when he was offered the wine with gall (poison) at the start of the crucifixion. The only time Jesus gave up was when he gave up his spirit on the cross after saying “it is finished”.

    • Xrucianus

      Beg to differ friend… Peter resigned and encountered the resurrected Man on the sea shore (John 21) Paul resigned from “dead religion” and Jesus resigned from not being “incarnate” out of His desire to encounter us.

  • rdimpact

    Point taken. I like the style. Good job. If you process information literally you may want to read a few times and concentrate on the tone. Blessings

  • Barry

    While I understand the reasoning here, I don’t agree with your conclusion. You were called to lead and given that responsibility by God (Romans 13:1). You were never called to lead by your own power or interests. Even business or government leaders must lead for the betterment of their followers and not their self-interest and are held accountable by a board of directors or the people. So don’t resign, but rather resolve to lead according to the Holy Spirit and for the purposes of God. Leading is not about power or authority, it is about Godly influence and serving others in Christ.

  • Phil

    Love ,Love ,Love,This article. So many people in leadership get so caught up in titles and positions they loose focus on the fact that it’s all about Jesus. How bad can we mess it up with wanting to be in power. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jim Norman

    I needed to read this today. Thanks!

  • Tim

    I think what you mean is “I repent”. It’s okay leaders can say that too.

    • $22716193

      Agreed Tim. Repent is a better and more descriptive word than resign.

  • http://www.jerrywatts.net NotSoYoung

    It seems to me that the purpose of this article demands personal examination to make sure that we do not ‘lean on our own understanding’ to ‘lead’ the church. This needs to be clearly articulated. However, although I am not a historian, Timothy didn’t resign as leader from Ephesus nor did Titus from Crete and Paul’s instructions to them were given in ‘strong terms’ to lead. By doing so they would protect the body, her doctrine, as well as her directions. All in all (and I am definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer) – since God called me from a staff position to a Sr. Pastor’s responsibility – I have, do, and will continue to sense a calling of being responsible for the body. We are called under-shepherds for a reason. For me, this is not a debate. This is my calling. While I am glad you feel relieved Shawn, I wonder if God has actually ‘relieved you.’ God desires to work through us when we are submitted to Him – not when we’ve abandoned our responsibilities.

    Having taken issue with this concept – I do know that I read articles like this to call into check my temptation (any temptation) to move beyond God’s call and direction. Grace to you.

    • Dalia

      The point was not to overburden oneself, or chase your tail in circles. You concentrate on your part and the Holy Spirit works His. It’s an awesome team in motion.

  • $22716193

    Clever by half. If I were to read this “resignation letter” in my church, they would probably ask me to resign – for real.

    I understand the point you are trying to make, but we are called to lead our people through the power of Christ and use the talents and spiritual gifts He has given us to the best of our abilities. I think you are saying this as well, but you may want to rephrase the language a bit as most people will not take it in the way you intended it.

    • SpokenFor

      @notaboutus. You may want to rephrase your language “our people”. They are not yours… they are His. :)

      • $22716193

        No rephrasing is needed as I think that most people posting here (including yourself) understand the context of the term “our people” as it is a commonly used expression in church leadership.

    • Dalia

      I think his language is great. Resign, yes. Move out of the way. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. I think most people get his point. It wasn’t that vague.

      • $22716193

        I respectfully disagree Dalia. Yes, most people here get the point, but that is not the major point in my view. The exact language we use when we are speaking to those we are called by God to lead is just as important as the content of our speech. This is what separates average communicators from the great communicators. Submission to God, repentance, humbling ourselves before God, and other similar language when speaking about how we should diligently seek to model our lives after Christ’s example is more preferable in my opinion than using the word resign.

        • Dalia

          Lighten up. We all know what he meant.

          • $22716193

            I simply offered my opinion on word choices Dalia. There is no need for the harsh comment.

    • aj

      “Clever by half. If I were to read this “resignation letter” in my church, they would probably ask me to resign – for real.” — Hilarious!

      • $22716193

        Why thank you aj…I think… :-)

  • Gary

    Ha! I remember writing this same letter (to myself) about 25 years ago. It is a good reminder, thanks!

  • Christian

    the things we find time to do…

  • JJ_spi

    Good grief… why not just say I decrease so that you may increase? Why all this nonsense?

    • $22716193


    • Dalia

      Lol! Yes, that’s it! The pastor was just stressing the point that other pastors over burden themselves, burn out by running on their own steam, just to flatline later.

  • Kevin W. Bridges

    Language like this is not really helpful. Saying things like “I resign” or “I’m going to get out of God’s way” or “I am going to let go and let God…” What does that really mean? What responsibility does one have in making positive change happen? This language sounds a lot like passivity, like if it’s going to be, it’s not up to me. I really do understand the author’s point, it’s just not helpful to me to think in those terms. I would have preferred him to describe what Godly leadership looks like rather than, “I resign.”

    • $22716193

      Great comment Kevin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/huangtila Tila Huang

    leadership is not about the capability of leading others or even the church,yap, it can make sense, however, one of the factor is such leadership should be happen unless we allow God as the source of all.

  • Andrew

    Probably makes a better warm-up to a leadership breakfast with other pastors, and a great way to get people to open an email and read an article to get people buzzing, but in reality, I think it’s a bad idea, especially because you ARE being paid to do a job, and it’s a slap in the face to people going through unemployment.

    • $22716193

      Agreed Andrew.

    • http://mike-collins.net/ Mike Collins

      I resonated with the heart behind this post, but of all the critiques here, I believe yours provides the most insight. Thanks!

  • Terry J. Stroud

    A huge twist from what I thought you were saying to what you really were saying. It was amazingly confusing until it hit… it’s God’s Church.

    Thank you. I needed to hear this affirmation!

  • Pastor Rallph Fequa

    My brother in Christ. your words have broken my heart . I do understand your words and what they mean. We will pray concerning this matter . God Bless you .

    Senior Pastor Ralph Fequa

  • sinner saved by grace

    While I undersstand the author’s point, the following quote came to mind as I read. Leaders show up when they realize God’s call, and they don’t quit they die.
    `If there’s no meaning in it,’ said the King, `that saves a world of trouble,
    you know, as we needn’t try to find any.

    ~ Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, Chapter XII, Lewis Carroll

  • Dalia

    Uh, I don’t know, but…. Pastor love joy has a point. God carries the burden, God grows the church, etc. your position is lead and look after. That’s what you are called to do. Jesus is simple, pastors make their post nearly impossible to manage. Good for you, pastor love joy. We want to see God move and shine through the ones He ordains, and not see the pastor of his own making. Good for you!

  • Margaret Browne

    Wow! Never looked at it from that view point. I understand clearly what you are saying as regards the leadership of the church. However, I still have some questions. Isn’t the pastor the leader? Isn’t the shepherd the leader? Isn’t the overseer the leader? God called Moses/Aaron to “lead my people Israel”. Isn’t a king a leader (like David, Saul and others?) The more I think of it, the more I am stretched in my thoughts. Now the Apostle under the God’s leading, talked about the gifts etc. in Romans and Corinthians. He mentions, teachers, evangelists, prophets, pastors etc but never leaders. From time to time my husband who is a pastor, is referred to as the chief shepherd of this church, and I don’t ascribe to the language, because I believe the Chief shepherd is Jesus. But I guess that they would be referring to things pertaining to this earth. Thanks for the article. I shall share it with my husband and see what he thinks. It has also inspired me to do some research on the whole matter of “leader of the church”

    • Dalia

      God called Moses/Aaron to lead His people. But it was always God’s words in their mouths. Jesus said He will build His church.its ALL about Jesus. When pastors humbly bow down the Holy Spirit can move mountains through the mind body and soul of pastors

  • R.A.P.

    It’s well expressed and interesting. It reminds me what Jesus said in John 15:5,7-8. He said I Am the vine you are the branches and you need to be connected to me in order to produce and carry much fruits. When we let our ego take over we tend to disconnect from the Vine(Jesus) and the results are very negative and stressful. So in order to keep producing we need to die to ourself and reconnect to the Vine. It will bring Glory to the father. We leaders need to constantly keep in mind that its all about The Vine Jesus! Blessings!!

  • Emelife

    Thanks for making such a decision now. Truelly, no-one can work with or for GOD physically.Unless GOD is with you, if not, you can never progress. Hence with GOD everything is possible.If you had,had the call to do the work of GOD, surely HE will be with you. When GOD called Moses to deliver the people of Isreal from the Egyptian’s boundage,.HE told him ”I will be with you…” GOD was with Moses and that made the mission possible.My advice is that ..You would have ( SINCERELY AND FAITHFULLY) asked for the HOLY SPIRIT COMPANION and the BURDEN would have been as light as possible Thanks.

  • aj

    I think this article is another example of theatrical pulpiteering. Use a shocking and often said event that often takes place in shame in the church, like the resignation of the pastor and turn it into some kind of “dying to self” epitaph for your life as the pastor. Of course, no one is going to fault you for wanting “Jesus” to lead the Church. However, this type of theatrics is annoying to me. Of course, Jesus should be leading the church, but he does it through you. But you wrote this long devotional, making it sound there was a different way it could happen. In the end, you state that, “I feel relieved to know that I don’t have to make things happen through brilliant strategy, leadership or clever preaching. Life change and church growth is His job.” So one could argue that it doesn’t matter what we do as pastors, it all depends on the Lord to put a strategy together? It does matter how good or bad our leadership skill are? It doesn’t matter how our preaching is? Its all Jesus? Is that what your saying? When you write articles in this form, your making a platitude type statement that leaves the reader at an emotional high but with no real substance. I’m not trying to say that I don’t agree with you that we need Christ to lead us in our daily life and ministry, but don’t make it sound as if what we do or what gifts way may or may not have do not factor into how effective our ministry can or cannot be.

  • Pastor Dave Deppisch

    Reading the article and the comments that follow- I am believing more and more that this site has a lot of space to fill and will heap some stuff (pixels) just to acquire content. I have prayed for some time for a church to “pastor”– finally God has allwed that for me. He is always going to be the head of His church and I will follow His lead– but I promise not to waste time writing tripe and playing with biblical truths so as to try to put into words what the Bible so succinctly states–.

    We hear so much about letting the Holy Spirit lead us. But too often that means getting feelings or motivation or emotional reactions that you can only get right by lining up with God’s word. Read the Word and DO IT!

    If you cannot– then truly RESIGN!

  • Troy Victory

    The article is brilliant. The pastor’s role is to equip the saints for ministry. Too many pastors are babysitters instead of pastors.

  • Anthony

    Very powerful! Your message and method are very effective! Thank you very much. Blessings!