All closed doors in ministry do not have to be sudden, or your fault, or painful. Sometimes, you just know it’s time to go because God makes it abundantly clear in a good way. It doesn’t mean you don’t grieve the loss of relationships and place, but with this kind of closed door comes amazing peace on the front end.
What does it look like when God closes the door?
Sometimes it’s the simple accomplishment of your mission. Many times, this happens when you’re in a specific place for a specific purpose and time, such as response to a natural disaster or work among refugees. Just because our mission had a timeframe, doesn’t mean it’s easy to leave when time’s up, but there can be a sense of accomplishment that you answered God’s call for a specific need and did your best in the time you had.
It can also be clear that it is time to pass the work over to the local believers. You’ve led people to the Lord, raised disciples, and trained leaders. Your job is done, and they are ready to carry the ministry to the next level. It feels a lot like when taking a child to college or seeing them drive off in their car for the first time without you—it’s not easy, but you know it’s right because this is how the Kingdom expands and grows.
God also nudges us to move on when a field is too crowded with workers. It might be hard to picture this, as Jesus’s words of the laborers being few rings in our ears, but there are times when too many ex-pat workers are in the same area or trying to work with the same small group of believers. These are times to hear God’s voice and willingly step away to where you’re more needed.
Empower those you leave behind.
As you leave, don’t forget to bless and encourage the workers and local believers who remain. There is always work to do for the Kingdom, and now they are to carry that on without you. Assure them of your confidence in them, as Paul always did with Timothy. Remind them that you are praying for them, and encourage them by saying that you know the Lord will do great things through them as they remain faithful.
Are you faced with an awareness that it is time to go? Thank God for the opportunity you’ve had to serve in this place, bless those you leave behind, and press forward in excitement for the new ministry he has in store for you.
When it’s time to go, go in…
Grace and Peace
For more on knowing it’s time to go, read When Doors Close: Changing Course in Missions Without Losing Your Way.