Lead Volunteers: To Excel at Long Suffering, One Must First Suffer Long
In ministry, perseverance and long suffering are part of the package. There is a hard labor of love that comes in ministry. There are people who will intentionally, or unintentionally, seek to hurt and harm. I need to suffer those insults.
People Will Disappoint You
Being in ministry means that you are going to suffer the sad consequences of people not showing up to volunteer. If you are in ministry, you are going to realize the fickle nature of human beings. You are going to ask yourself the question, “Who does that? Who says they’re going to do something and then doesn’t do it and doesn’t tell you that they’re not going to do it?” Sometimes we see the worst of people. We see their flakiness and we see their fragility in ways that cause us to suffer. My job is made harder because people don’t do what they say they are going to do. I can be angry, bitter, and cynical about humans in general or I can take up my cross and suffer. It may take energy and effort to bring myself to a point of understanding how to work with faulty and frail people. But at the end of the day, if I am going to be good at long suffering, I must suffer long.
Challenge and Reward
It’s hard. It’s hard to see the value of your ministry when others don’t. It’s hard to have your budget cut again, never to be replaced. It’s hard to see your programs alienated and pushed to the side, not given the same level of platform or promotion. And sometimes it feels like we are suffering. But in order to be well-versed at long suffering, I must first suffer long.
Ministry is a worthy and high calling. Long suffering is a beautiful thing. When others suffer long for me, what a joy it is. I have been the blessed recipient of other people suffering long as I tried to pull myself together and tried to make good on my word. People have suffered long with me and I’m grateful that they have.
My encouragement is that in order to be well-adept at long suffering, we must first suffer long.