What Should You Tell Your Church When a Staffer Leaves?

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Dan Reiland
Dan Reiland

Losing a staff member for any reason can be hard on you as a leader. It's a difficult process. After all, your church staff is in some ways like family!

Pastors often call and ask if they need to make an announcement on Sunday morning when a staff member leaves their church. Good question. In addition to the pressure that a leader carries to handle a staff transition well, how that decision is communicated and to whom really matters.

This article is not about the decision regarding a staff member leaving (and regardless of whether it was your decision or theirs). It's about how to handle the communication when the decision is made.

Before we jump in, let me ask you a question: Do you feel compelled to tell the congregation when a staff member leaves? If you do, why do you feel this way? Have you considered that it's not necessarily or automatically a good idea?

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Some leaders push back and say it's because the church is family, and everyone should know. That's one perspective, and fair enough. Others get very candid and own a little insecurity that brings with it a need for the congregation to like them, which shapes who they tell and how. Some admit it's an authority issue and involves keeping control. It may be nothing like that for you. It may be no more complex than a tradition of communication.

Every church culture is different, but here are some guidelines to help you know how to handle these situations. You may agree or disagree with some of my thoughts, but in the end, if they help you gain clarity, it's good.

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