Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Exit: Always An Option, Not Always A Solution

Written by: on October 24, 2014

I have to be honest and say that ministry is hard! Working with people is hard! There are times when I daydream about the perfect exit from ministry. I imagine what that would look like and sometimes, I play the scenario in my head, but if I want to have a voice in the immigrant community, if I want to see a change in the way that this community does church and treats women, then I have to stay and be a voice. Many before me have exited, and though exits do speak, the impact of an exit is temporary and people move on. A voice that speaks from the inside is harder to be ignored. Don’t get me wrong it can be ignored for a little bit just like a dripping faucet, but after a while you have to do something. I believe that this is my position in the immigrant church… to be a dripping faucet. They will have to deal with me at some point, and I will be ready.

With all that said, I do keep the idea of exiting on the back burner. I realize that it’s always an option… and I realize that I can play that card any time I want to. This gives me the freedom that I need and the boldness I desire in order to keep dripping and to keep making a noise.

In his book Exit, Voice and Loyalty, Albert Hirschman says, “exit has been accorded an extraordinarily privileged position in American tradition…. This preference for the neatness of exit over the messiness and heartbreak of voice has persisted throughout our national history.” (P. 107) Though many times exiting is a cop-out for our unwillingness to fight, I am thankful that by living in America I do have this option. It’s one thing to pick my battles… It’s one thing to be afforded the luxury to fight, but there are so many women who don’t have the option. I wonder if I owe it to them to fight. I wonder if I owe it to them to do something and to put myself in difficult situations so that if I maybe do my part, it will trickle down to them… somehow… I don’t know!

Hirschman’s book reminded me of my options, reminded me of my freedom and reminded me of my privilege. I walk away refreshed, thankful and convicted. I don’t think that this is what the author had in mind when he was writing a business book.



About the Author

Stefania Tarasut

4 responses to “Exit: Always An Option, Not Always A Solution”

  1. rhbaker275 says:

    Wow, your dripping faucet is a great metaphor! It indicates consistency and persistence in the task one is called to do. I suggest these are two great values and require that one understand the the scope and nature of the task and have a deep sense of the value and significance of what what one is doing.

    I think Hirschman would be encouraged by the book bringing refreshment and conviction to you as you have considered your options. He does hope for a “more direct influence” where the reader having carefully and thoughtfully considered the option between exit and voice, “[I]t could encourage resort to either exit or voice, as the case may be. Such at least is the stuff writers dreams are made of” (126). Let me assure you, your willingness to be a “dripping faucet” is an encouragement and inspiration to me and I am sure to many others in the cohort. Hang tough! or, more appropriated, “Drip Loud!” God bless you richly!

  2. Stefania,

    You continually amaze me. Your post is wonderful. I absolutely love your metaphor of the leaky faucet and the confidence you have that you will eventually be heard. I must not be as patient as you or as courageous as you, since my method for dealing with problems with an organization is usually either bottling up my feelings and silently looking for another open door or to speak up too loudly and blast everybody with a firehose! I am not proud of this, but that has been my way of handling difficult situations in the past. I like your drippy faucet method better. I am experiencing some frustration where I work now. But rather than make myself sick by bottling up my thoughts and emotions or by turning on the firehose, I am going to try to be a leaky faucet — drip, drip, drip. So thanks for the ideas here. I will let you know what happens.

  3. Ashley Goad says:

    Stefania, I admire you. I could never do what you do. Hearing you speak of the uphill battle you constantly face, I know you are far more courageous and steadfast than I am! God has gifted you with patience…perseverance…self-control…and a number of other fruits of the Spirit. You are using them so well, and we are all thankful for you!

  4. Liz Linssen says:

    Hi Stefania
    You are a brave woman and I admire what you’re doing. Staying in a job that’s hard work because you want to make a difference. I love your dripping faucet analogy. You are stronger than you think!
    I wonder, what do you find most challenging in working in a Korean church? How well do you think Koreans are with EQ?

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