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Should a Pastor Ever Decide to Leave His Church?

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In my case that's a bit complicated because I've left

two or three times to do two or three different things.

I was pastoring a church in Vancouver and left to do a

doctoral studies in Britain so from my point of view I was not

leaving pastoral ministry I was simply taking a hiatus to study

a little longer.

Eventually through complex circumstances I ended up back in

Vancouver where I was pastoring a church on the side but also

teaching in a small college and seminary and then when I left

there I moved down to Chicago and ultimately took up a

teaching post at Trinity.

Since then I've never been a full time pastor but I've often

done a lot of pastoral work so it's not as if I was leaving to

go to another church nor was it leaving so that I could become a

computer scientist.

From my point of view I was leaving one form of pastoral

ministry, namely the primary pastoral ministry that takes

place in a local church, to join a situation where I was devoting

myself primarily to the training of pastors.

So in that sense it was a bit unusual, the way the Lord called

me to make those changes was not suddenly it was through a number

of circumstances, the experiences of life, challenges

from people who saw my interests, and this element or

that element.

The one time that I almost left Trinity to go somewhere else was

not to go to another seminary or back to university but to become

pastor of another church.

And then I had two or three senior Saints, Carl Henry and

Kenneth Concert, who descended on me like the voice of the Lord

and told me that at that particular time they thought it

would be a mistake for me to do that because they thought that

what I was writing was urgent enough that I shouldn't do

anything that would reduce that output.

Whether they were right or not, who's to say, that's a question

for the Lord to answer in eternity.

But it's not as if I've ever thought of myself as abandoning

pastoral ministry but switching from a primary focus on the

local church to a secondary focus on the local church by the

means of training others for the local church.