There are three reasons why I left. 1. I felt I was not the role-model that I needed to be. A pastor is human, but congregations expect pastors to be on a different level. I understand this but I relate to what Isaiah said, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
I knew God is holy and I was not. I have personally known dozens of pastors who say one thing in the pulpit and something else when they are not around their members. I did not want to be a hypocrite. I knew my heart and I did not want to be a stumbling block for any member of my congregation.
2. I was not happy or at peace. Life is too short to be miserable! Man-made rules can sap a pastor's creativity and joy. I regret that I didn't make the shift when I was younger. At age 56, I shifted.
3. The organized Church is not relevant in our culture. It is an old wine skin without flexibility. A paradigm shift will not be enough to become relevant; it will take a shift from Church to Kingdom thinking. I knew that I could no longer give myself to something so out of touch with reality.
My present sphere of ministry is companioning the dying through Hospice care. Everyday is different than the one before. I have the privilege of being with people facing death and eternity. I have not left my calling to preach. I am preaching in a different way now. I love this saying, When we minister to the sick, who heals who? I recognize that I am truly a wounded healer sent by the Lord.
For more in-depth understanding to why pastors leave the pastorate I have written,
For Those in Dry Places: Hope for Ministers in the Wilderness. For order information please go to www.stirthefireministry.com and click Books.