A Message From Rob Rice,
LLC Regional Ministry Associate
When I was a kid, I used to love watching Coyote and RoadRunner cartoons. In each short episode, the plot was the same. The Coyote was trying to catch the elusive RoadRunner, but would end up doing more damage to himself. Whether it was TNT exploding in his face, an anvil falling on his head, or running off the cliff only to look down and see himself plunge off the edge, something always seemed to be going wrong. Yet, after every struggle, the Coyote somehow got up and got back to work. He never gave in or gave up, he was resilient in his pursuit. I don’t know about you, but there are many times that I have felt like the Coyote this year in ministry. Things have blown up in my face, I’ve been beaten down by things like restrictions and technology, and there have been times where I feel like I’ve fallen off the proverbial cliff into the unknown. But I still keep getting up, I still keep moving forward, I still know that the pursuit is worth it, because our labor in ministry is not for something that is fleeting, but for something that is lasting. We are laboring to share the hope of the Gospel with others, and so like the Coyote, we need to be persistent and resilient in our work.
How do we find that resilience? We certainly can’t purchase it from the ACME catalog and we aren’t just born with it. It doesn’t necessarily come when we are ordained or reach a certain point in our ministry career. We ultimately find this resilience as we go through the trials of ministry and find our identity in Jesus Christ. Like the piece of steel forged and made resilient through the process of heating, holding, hammering and cooling, so we too are made resilient through a process as well. In the book Tempered Resilience, Tod Bolsinger (who also wrote Canoeing the Mountains) provides us a guide to find resilience in life and ministry. Through the illustrations of a forge and the lives of Moses and Martin Luther King Jr., Bolsinger explores the practices which temper us. The book challenges each of us to embrace practices like self-reflection, cultivating relationships and building a rule of life to help us gain the resilience we need for life and ministry.
I know our LLC groups are in a variety of places right now. Some groups are continuing to meet on a monthly basis, while others are gathering less frequently. Some have taken up the practice of simply encouraging each other, while others are moving ahead with self-selected reading lists. I want to encourage and challenge you, no matter what you are doing, to find some time this spring to read and discuss the book Tempered Resilience. I pray that it will aid you as you walk this road of ministry.
Reverend Robert W. Rice,
LLC Coordinator, Regional Ministry Associate