Bible Question:

How should a pastor resign his pastoral duties?

Bible Answer:

Ideally, the resignation of a pastor from his pastoral duties should be performed by a written letter. The letter does not need to explain why he resigned. It should be brief and to the point. The letter should be given to the designated leader of the leadership team. If the church is small, the resignation could be given verbally. The letter should state when his duties will end. The entire letter does not need to be more than several sentences. The pastor should, if possible, give at least a two week notice. There are no biblical guidelines as to how a pastor resigns. This is purely a courtesy to the leadership team and congregation.

In return, the leadership team should be appreciative and give the pastor at least three months of salary. It is customary to give a severance package. If the pastor is not leaving for another position, the three months of salary should be increased by one additional month for each year of ministry beyond five years since it takes most pastors about one year to find another church. He is a minister of God and each church should treat its pastor better than the world treats its own. If he is leaving for another church or position, then the three months could be reduced.

So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Gal 6:10 (NAS95S)


Churches at times treat their pastors worse than the world treats its own. In the professional world, employees are given severance packages and employers refrain from making negative comments about their employees. Many employers give their employees a farewell party and recognize their years of service. The church should at least do the same. God has directed us to make sure that our words are seasoned with grace (Col. 4:6). So let’s be kind and gracious to our pastors – even those resigning. We need to do better than those outside the church – let’s go overboard.

Suggested Links:

Searching For God
A Call: Teach The Word
Patterns of Godly Leadership
Thoughts on Selecting A Pastor
What are the pastor's duties to a church?