Friendship, vocation, and staying the course

In a lovely post over at Faith & Leadership, blogger Michael Jinkins identifies friendship as what sustains him most in his ministry of leadership. Jinkins is a seminary president, which means he knows a thing or two about the  stresses, loneliness, and risk of burn-out that come with leading.  In fact, it’s the day-to-day grind of living one’s vocation that has Jinkins singing the praises of friendship. As he explains,

the reason friendship sustains us, like nothing else, is because friends together are always more than the sum of their parts. Their strengths combine, and they more than compensate for one another’s weaknesses, making one another stronger through the gift of mutual correction and forbearance.


Jinkins’ reflections on friendship, vocation, and staying the course sound like those of a senior development officer about whom Thom Jeavons and I wrote in our book,  Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry.

Soon after stepping into the role of VP for Advancement at a seminary, he looked for a faculty member who could be a friend and spiritual advisor. He knew he needed help in sticking to a ministry-centered approach to fundraising.

Interestingly, the fundraiser and friend didn’t talk a lot about the seminary’s development program, although that was an open topic for discussion. Rather, they read Scripture, prayed, and shared about God’s work in both their lives. The friendship gave the fundraiser perspective on his work and helped remind him of his call.

As Jinkins notes, knowing we are where God has called us, should be enough to sustain us.

Amid the relentless pace of life, of families and work, running and rushing as we do, in the midst of a culture addicted to the ephemeral and resistant to the enduring, it is crucial to believe that our efforts ultimately are not futile, that the God who (as the Psalmist tells us) collects even our tears in a bottle, the God who (as Jesus tells us ) numbers even the hairs on our heads, cherishes and remembers the lives we live and the work we do.

But sometimes we need more. For Jinkins, that “more” is friendship.

And so it is for those of us who’ve been called to fundraising as ministry. A sure confidence of God with us is essential. However, our work goes better when done in the company of godly friends.

Talk back: Does Jinkins’ description of friendship as a sustaining force in the life of faith ring true to your experience? Where have you found this kind of friendship?

What's your take on this topic?

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