Leaders in the church have a hard time knowing when it is time to leave. Sometimes you are offered another unbelievable opportunity — like double your salary. Then it's a fairly easy decision — you go where the money is because God is everywhere. Just kidding. Of course there are other times when the present situation is so bad it's time to make a move. So I have compiled a list to help you know (tongue-in-cheek, of course).
You know it's time to leave when …
1. They just installed gun racks in the Fellowship Hall.
2. The staff is giving you a reception and calling it a whine and cheese party.
3. Tonight is your annual leadership banquet and your verse for the day is, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies."
4. You just found out your minister of music's nickname at his former church is Little Napoleon.
5. You find out your nickname at your present church is Deadwood.
6. You meet the church lady and instead of saying, "You're special," she says, "You're history."
7. The chairman of personnel asks you if it's true that you did your undergraduate work at Bob's college and your graduate work at Billy Bob's.
8. You happen to look at the license plate of your newest staff member and it's IAM666.
9. A policeman in your church asks you if you own a pair of Bruno Magli shoes (If O.J. didn't do it, maybe you did).
10. A new church insurance plan only has one approved doctor — his name is Kevorkian.
11. You find a $100 gift certificate for U-Haul in your "in box" and a horse's head on the pulpit.
12. You receive a new church credit card, and the expiration date is noon.
13. You start receiving brochures in the mail from companies describing the exciting opportunities in the life insurance business.
14. The church treasurer returns your tithe check with a simple note that says, "No way."
15. The church Theology Committee asks you to describe in detail the nature of life after death and then asks you to test your hypothesis.
16. The Finance Committee asks you to describe in 100 words or less what you would have done to prevent the Great Depression.
17. One of your biggest critics demands all twenty voices in his head get to vote at the next church business meeting.
18. The Finance Committee has decided to switch from an annual budget to a monthly budget so they'll have more to discuss at the church's weekly business meetings.
19. The Personnel Committee suggests that date-night with your wife should include hospital visitation.
20. The 80-something church organist has decided to play while you preach.
21. The staff has suggested that the pastoral budget be listed as defense spending.
22. The biggest event of the year is Church Amnesty Day.
23. Your personal parking space is now labeled handicapped parking.
24. Your staff complains that your sermon on patience went two minutes over.
25. You are diagnosed with congregation phobia when you tell your wife that the deacon in the car in front of you is following you.
26. The new church slogan has been changed from "the church of the open door" to "the church of the revolving door."
27. You have been in the hospital for a week, and the chairman of the personnel committee wants to know if it is coming out of your vacation or conference time.
28. One of your "friends" and a member of your accountability group shares with you that he doesn't believe that church staff should be paid. (Don't laugh too loud — this was one of mine.)
29. The church has become so small that there are no ornery deacons, so the men have decided to rotate to fill that vacancy.
30. The chairman of the deacons is complaining that the water bill is way over budget because there were too many baptisms. (This one is also true.)
31. All the historical sites in the town were built after your church building.
32. The director of your young couple's department actually knew Lottie Moon.
See you feel better already don't you? So take those verses in Proverbs, like "Grin and bear it," and "God helps those who help themselves," and get on with it. Since you probably can't find those verses, just remember that you work for the Great Physician not the HMO.