9 Critical Things Learned After Stepping Away from Ministry

A couple years ago my husband and I made a transition out of our jobs at a church and ministry.

Out of this transition we entered one of the most challenging seasons of our lives.

This often left us asking ourselves if we did the right thing. I think that’s a question anyone would ask. When you move on, especially in ministry, there is this belief that things are supposed to be newer, brighter, shinier, that opportunities are supposed to pour from the sky and everything is going to be A-Okay.

There are many reasons we encountered some of the hardships we did and then there are some things I really can’t explain, and that’s okay. But we aren’t going to talk about that right now.


What I do want to talk about is what we learned over the past two years and what we were maybe tempted to question but we are now convinced of beyond a shadow of a doubt.

1. We are No Less Called 

This is something we were tempted to question. But during this time the Lord has grown a desire for ministry that looks very different from what we’ve done in the past and the vision for it has grown out of this season of adversity. Crazy, huh?

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
— Romans 11:29

2. Our Capacity has Been Enlarged 

We grew in areas we never would have if we had stayed where we were. It was super uncomfortable and incredibly humbling but we are stronger for it. We wouldn’t trade that for anything. We’re going to need that strength for what lies ahead.

3. We Learned a lot About Ourselves

Asking really hard questions became the norm for us. What were our weaknesses? What were our strengths? There were lots of tears and there was lots of laughter. Too many times we assume our motives are what they should be. It is so important to allow The Lord to rend us, to lay us bare, and deal with what that means. When He’s done doing what only He can do inside us there is always a resurrection of sorts. It’s a beautiful thing.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
— Isaiah 64:8

4. We Know What's Important and We're Ready to Fight for It

What does the Bible say about relationships, family, ministry, community, discipleship? We believe that Jesus wants to give us abundant life and He died so that we could have it even though we don’t deserve it. That means doing things the way we believe He wants us to, according to Scripture, even when we don’t understand. This is good news! This is the Gospel.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8

5. We learned that doing things the right way often looks like a step backwards but it is ALWAYS worth it.

6. We Know what God is Calling Us to and Who He is Calling Us to Be 

Western church culture has defined the way that we “do ministry” thus putting up some barriers in allowing the church to be the church. The church is the bride of Christ. She is beautiful and she deserves to shine. I think more and more people are getting a hold of this reality and it’s really exciting. We know that God is calling us to lead the local church and we couldn’t be more excited and totally freaked out. Haha.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
— Ephesians 5:25-27

7. It’s Okay to Rest 

We needed it and we didn’t know it and looking back we are so thankful. God knows exactly what we need and He also knows how to get us where we need to be to bring Him the greatest glory. So don’t stress. Rest.

8. Our Story is Our Own 

There isn’t a formula to life that is going to guarantee everything is going to be easy. We love sharing with you but there are some things that words could never express and we could never explain. There are some things that won’t be known on this side of eternity. But one day we will see Jesus and we will know just as we are known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

9. Finally, NEVER GIVE UP.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
— Galatians 6:9

We only share these things with you because we believe they are applicable to everyone. Maybe not some of the specifics but the general ideas are ones that I think will ring true for most of us.


Are there things that you learned in a time of adversity that you know prepared you for what God had for you next? We would love to hear about it so please share it in the comments below!

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