by | Apr 2, 2024 | Career, Change, Finishing Well, Leadership, Ministry Leader, Pastor


Today John & Jim welcome Kyle Isabelli to the mic for Part 1 of their conversation on the subject, Responding to a Forced Exit. In today’s episode they unpack Kyle’s forced termination, a few big lessons Kyle learned through the journey, and how to leave a church well, even when you have been unexpectedly let go.


What moved you to write your book, Refined by the Fire(d)?

  • The first weekend after I was fired, I began to wrestle with what God might be up to.
  • I had a mentor who challenged me to journal everything I was learning. Out of that came the desire to create a resource for other leaders who were going through a forced termination right now, and for those who would experience that in the future.

Give us the reader’s digest version of your termination experience.

  • I was a married man with two young children when I was fired.
  • After my wife gave birth to our second child. I took two weeks off to be home, and then I came back excited about what was next as we learned how to balance life with two kids under two and my job leading the youth ministry. During the next couple of months, my supervisor and I began to stray from seeing eye-to-eye on defining “wins” or successes for the high school ministry.
  • My supervisor explained to me he had figured out why some of our discussions over the past few months about the events I’d done with the youth group bothered him so much.
  • I was not the right fit for our church’s youth ministry. My super visor affirmed my gifts as a youth pastor, leader, teacher, and shepherd, as well as my love and care for students, leaders, and families. But ultimately, he believed I would thrive in a different environment—not his, not this church.

Your book’s title is Refined by the Fire(d). What has been refined in you through this experience? What are some of the things you learned in your “wilderness” journey?

  • My pride got in the way. I was stuck in wanting to do things my own way.
  • I could have been more willing to listen.
  • Self-sufficiency was a real issue for me. I wasn’t spending enough time praying and learning how to depend on God instead of solely my talents.

In the book you talk about leaving your church well. What does it mean to leave your church well?

  • Reminding myself that this church is Christ’s bride.
  • Remembering that Jesus loved these people. How do I love them like He does?
  • Stick with a script that is honest/honoring at the same time.
  • Answering the question: “How can I still pastor these people well while I’m on the way out?”