A New Role? Consider the Push and the Pull

When leaders ask me about pursuing or considering a new ministry role, I ask them about the “push” and the “pull.”

The “push” is those things that cause you to want to leave the role you are currently in.

The “pull” is what excites you about the new opportunity.

Lessons I have learned about the “push” and the “pull”:

  • God may use some things in your current context to push you—to cause you to be open to a new role.
  • But be careful here. There will always be something you don’t like about your current context. There will always be challenges and difficult days. If you bolt every time there is a “push,” you will never plant deep roots and bear fruit in a context over a sustained period of time.
  • If all you have is a “push,” stay put. Work on your own heart. If there is not a distinct “pull” from the Lord, you are merely running from something and not to something.
  • Do not leave unless there is a strong “pull”—a strong nudge from the Lord. If you don’t have a strong “pull” to look back to, you will quickly discover a new set of “pushes” that will overwhelm you.
  • When you leave, speak about the “pull.” Don’t bring up the “push.” You will come off as bitter, lose credibility, and possibly hurt the people who are involved in the ministry or organization you are leaving.

A mentor of mine describes the brevity of our lives this way: “Your ministry is like a Snickers bar. You have four or five good bites and then it is over.” His point is that most of us have only a few “runs” in us, and then we are gone. Our life is a vapor, so we should want to make the most of the brief time that we have. And part of that is living with a sense of holy mission where we are, not spending our lives running from one “set of pushes” to another.

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