Here’s my reality: I’m not just leaving a job for another job. I was called by God to Community Bible Church and I now feel God releasing me from that role at CBC and a clear calling to my serve under the leadership at Dunham+Company. I invested everything I had into this church and I am forever changed by my experiences at CBC. This was my church more than it was my place of employment. This “job” meant so much to me and this church continues to mean so much to me. All of my family that lives in San Antonio goes to CBC and will continue to. I continue to communicate this as I believe it’s important for people to know how much I love CBC and how grateful I am for all that God has done through this church and all I believe God is going to do through this church. I truly believe that the best is yet to come at Community Bible Church.
Regardless of my feelings for CBC, I would want to leave well. I have left ministry jobs well and I’ve left them terribly. I have left upset and frustrated as well as leaving jobs that I loved, but felt called elsewhere. I believe that for whatever reason that you might be leaving, it is important and valuable to leave well. I hope this blog post can help you learn from my experiences in order to leave well if God does call you elsewhere.
As I made my transition at Community Bible Church, these are a few of the things that I tried to do in order to leave well:
· Ask How You Can Leave Well – I will always remember the call to Ed Newton to share the news of my transition. He received the call with incredible grace and was so encouraging to me personally. While this wasn’t a strategy of mine, but during the 5-minute conversation I asked Ed how I could transition well. Through this ask l was able to communicate clearly to him my intentions to transition well rather than what many people do and just let go of everything and move on. He was able to ask very specific requests that helped him tremendously and also gave me a peace in knowing that I was able to transition well for the leader that I served under.
· Share the News Personally – this was very challenging and I know that there were many I missed. Shortly after sharing the news with my pastor I moved quickly to call as many close colleagues and ministry leaders that I could. I wish I could have called more, but was so glad I was able to share the news personally rather than them hear through an announcement or someone else. I believe this also minimizes the opportunity for unhealthy rumors to get out.
· Document All Job Duties – know matter how well you train others to do your job they will likely forget at least 50% of what you teach and regardless it is beneficial to have your entire workflow documented for those who follow you and realistically those who follow those who follow you. It never hurts to document your job duties and work flow systems. I believe this is healthy even if you’re not leaving and to review these annually if not quarterly.
· Effectively Transition All Responsibilities – alongside documentation of your job duties, training around these responsibilities is so important. Helping those who take over these responsibilities understand not just what you do and how you do it, but why you do it that way. The reality is that they will likely do things different than you did, but if they understand the why, they will likely avoid potential pitfalls as they develop their own workflow and systems.
· Don’t Burn Bridges – this is probably most important. You will likely be hurt in some way and likely have a desire to burn a bridge or 3 in your transition. I have never seen someone burn a bridge and thought: “Well, that was a good idea” or “That really helped things”. Burning bridges is not a good idea. Period. That doesn’t mean you have to be deceptive or hide wrongs, it just means you don’t unnecessarily attack others personally or deceptively allow rumors to spread around your transition. As you consider your actions in the midst of a transition and all of the natural emotions that are involved be careful to not burn bridges. It’s just not worth it.
What am I leaving off that you would suggest? Do you agree or disagree? Your current job is likely not your last. I hope this list helps others as they begin a transition. As I hear from you I will hopefully expand this list and hope it becomes a tremendous resource for others that are making a career transition in the future.