(I’m picking up the convo where we left off last week; see Steps 1-5).
You’ve been fired, you didn’t see it coming (though, I’d push you back on that and say, “Really?”), you’ve gone home to sequester yourself for 24 hours. Now what?
#6 – Determine if you’ll agree to “resigning” or if you’d rather be “asked to leave.” Whatever you decide, don’t vacillate. Either direction has its own course and you need to stick to one path.
#7 – If you decide to “resign,” determine what your severance package needs will be before signing the letter of resignation. 3 months is minimum; 6 months is better. With severance agreed upon, you are also agreeing that you will “finish strong” by leaving things in fabulous order and will not participate in any negative conversations. You will stick to the story that you resigned and you are exploring the call God has for you elsewhere.
#8 – If you decide not to “resign,” tell your boss in a written form with other leaders cc’d. Keep it very professional; eliminate any passive aggressive snarky-ness. Give them a target date for finishing up your position (unless they already gave you a date). 1-2 weeks is long enough. Anything more is too tempting for political messiness. Include in the letter what your transition plans will be as far as files, data, calendar, etc. Keep your tone very helpful. You might suggest that you’d like someone to help you take your stuff out of the office so that person knows you’re leaving behind what belongs to the church. Most importantly, be sure to share that your intent is to finish well. When asked by members, tell them succinctly without attitude, that you were asked to leave, you honor the leadership, and you are exploring the call God has for you elsewhere.
#9 – Begin working on your resume. Google what’s new, sharp, and eye-catching. Look at what jobs are available on the biggest YM job boards like tools.simplyyouthministry.com, ministryarchitects.com, or youthspecialties.com. Remember: if you want another ministry position, you don’t want to burn bridges.
#10 – TAKE THE HIGH ROAD! I mean it, friend. There is no other way to do this. The reality is that if you’re picturing a courtroom scene in your head where you get to present evidence as to why you were wronged, it won’t happen. The more drama you create by whispering here and there, the more it hurts your career, your family, the church, your youth, the Kingdom. Yes, I know you weren’t treated fairly. “Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord” – in other words, let God deal with your “former” church. I’m watching one of my FB friends play out their depression and co-dependency online and really, it isn’t helping anyone. In fact, it may actually prove why that person were asked to leave.
It gets better. The lessons learned, if you’re willing, will be one of the best things to ever happen to you. Trust me, I know.
(PS: Check out Terrace Crawford’s This Week in Youth Ministry podcast; he interviewed me about this very topic! )