How to Quit Children’s Ministry with Dignity
You feel tired, worn out, or ready to serve in a different area of ministry. Maybe you’ve been the Sunday morning teacher for months on end and you don’t remember what the main sanctuary looks like. Maybe it’s simply not a good fit for you, and God is calling you elsewhere in ministry. Whatever the reason, there is a way to quit children’s ministry with dignity.
If you are like me, you avoid confrontation at all costs. I don’t like having to say the hard things to people (“I’m stepping down.”). I don’t want to see their disappointment. I’d rather stay under the blankets on Sunday morning and pretend I don’t have some place to be. (Note: this is the wrong approach! Don’t ask me how I know!)
There have been times over the years when I’ve seen people simply not show up for their allotted time as a worker, or give very little notice that they are not coming back. This is challenging for everyone as the team shuffles around to fill in for the absent worker. (There are other bad ways to resign from a position, but this is by far the most common that I’ve seen).
As you are considering your resignation from children’s church, think about the following:
Make sure it’s really time to go
Is your time in children’s ministry really done and over? Did you pray about it? Discomfort in a ministry role is often an opportunity for spiritual growth. (I know. Not my favorite either!) Even in the midst of a conflict, you are called to love others, and there are ways to go about resolving church issues. (Talk to the children’s ministry leader or the pastor with an attitude of humility- there may be another side to the story or a resolution you don’t see yet.)
Remember the Golden Rule? That saying is a valuable key to interactions with others. Run your behavior through that filter. Would you like it if someone did it to you? If the answer is no, don’t fall into the temptation to justify your actions.
Give advance notice
Very rarely will someone impulsively decide their time in any particular area of ministry is up. You’ve probably been thinking (and hopefully praying) about it for a while, right? On our jobs in the workforce, we understand that we should give two weeks’ notice. Can we behave like that in ministry? Sure. We can even do better. Can you give them a month? Six weeks? Give the director ample time to find your replacement.
Offer to train your replacement
Nobody likes being thrown into an assignment with little or no training, but having been in ministry for a while, I know it happens sometimes. We like to think, “oh, it’s just the kids, it will be fine”, but children’s ministry is a big deal! We are dealing with very precious individuals, and often times, their experience in children’s church will be with them for a lifetime. (Not to mention the fact that a well-run children’s ministry can be a deciding factor for visiting families). It’s not necessarily your job, but it’s a nice gesture!
Express your reason for leaving
This is not an opportunity for you to unleash every negative thought you’ve ever had about the children’s ministry, but it is an opportunity to share what isn’t working for you. Remember to do so in a spirit of humility and love. Your feedback can alert the leader to any potential areas of growth and can in turn serve the children and families (as well as other volunteers) better in the future.
Whatever the circumstances, be sure to resign from your children’s ministry position in love and helpfulness rather than anger or sloppiness.
Becky is a wife of nine years and stay at home mom to four young children. She aspires to encourage women in Biblical truth on her blog, Happy Christian Home