People quit.

I recruited 10 people for a professional development cohort. Nearly half of them quit before it even started.

We assembled a youth mission trip team and bought them all plane tickets. Then two of them quit.

I quit.

When I was 24, a year out of college and new in my job and apartment and breakup, I worshiped at a tiny Presbyterian church in my neighborhood where two college classmates also worshiped and where the hurtling-toward-retirement minister welcomed me eagerly into worship and committee leadership. Then a new friend invited me to his much bigger, much younger, much cooler church. I quit.

Years later I was ordained into the same presbytery as that small neighborhood church and the still-hurtling-toward-retirement minister became my colleague. I took him out to lunch and apologized for quitting. He was gracious beyond description. Years later still his church caught fire, and within weeks he was planning the renovation and rebuild. He didn’t quit.

We learn the virtue of perseverance early and often. Don’t quit. Keep at it. If at first you don’t succeed.

There is virtue lurking in how we handle others’ quitting too, though. We don’t have to shrug our shoulders in helplessness, yet neither are we required to rage and judge, as if we are entitled to others’ participation.

Maybe the virtue is in expecting some attrition and planning for more than we need.


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