Commentary: 9 things to do when you want to move but your phone isn’t ringing


Often during my 30 years as a senior pastor, I got the itch to move on to another church. Some of those urges were legitimate, but many were not. Feeling like “you’ve pulled that ole wagon as far as you can pull it” and waiting for your next assignment can be brutal. Here are nine lessons I learned in the process.

  1. Spruce up your résumé. Make sure the info is accurate and up to date. Also, find someone good with graphics to help with the layout. Once I went the extra mile, the right opportunity came.
  2. Keep close tabs on what's available. I've heard people say, "I never send a résumé. God knows how to get a hold of me when the time comes." Although admiring such a philosophy, I have never been in that camp. Network with people who can help and keep an eye on ministry position openings.
  3. Re-examine your call. Are you sure you're doing what you are supposed to be doing? Perhaps God is leading you to a different type of ministry.
  4. Prepare good sermons. When I went through such a season as a younger man, a pastor friend urged me to pour my energy into quality study and sermon preparation. Wow! What great advice! I'm still benefiting from the fruit of that labor 33 years later.
  5. Establish an evangelistic "hit list." Jot down the names of people you pray for and hope get saved before you leave. Then look for opportunities to personally connect and share the gospel.
  6. Find an outlet. You can drive yourself and others crazy during this season of uncertainty. Look for things to do to get your mind off of your search. Tackle something on your bucket list. Hunt and fish. Develop a hobby. Build something. Learn another language, or how to play a musical instrument.
  7. Take care of yourself physically. Use this time to lose a few pounds. Develop better eating habits. Exercise regularly. I’ve run three marathons in my 50's (don’t underestimate your capability). Take walks with your spouse or by yourself. If you’re by yourself, listen to good stuff on your phone.
  8. Speaking of your spouse, don't overburden her. Looking back, I probably poured out my frustration too often to my wife. Although she was always willing to listen and advise, I'd scale back on the "moving" discussions if I had it to do over.
  9. Diligently seek the Lord. I know this could go without saying, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded. Grow as close to God as possible during this period of restlessness. Consider that a change in your attitude may be far more beneficial than a change in circumstances. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what He wants accomplished at your present location.

I feel your pain. I can assure you that God hears you and has the situation well in hand. "Bloom where you are planted" as you await new marching orders!


Todd Gaddis served 30 years as a senior pastor, 21 of those in Georgia, and continues to minister on an interim basis. He is a former contributing writer for Lifeway Christian Research, where this column first appeared.