Are you one of those who, when asked for a volunteer, raised your hand and said you would? Be wary, be very wary. I recently volunteered to be the leader of the Staff/Parish Relations committee of my church. I floundered through the first few meetings, doing an adequate job but not really knowing what I was there for.
Then I went to a meeting on heading up that committee and what my role was in it. At 5:00 the next morning I dragged myself out of bed, unable to sleep because I wasn’t aware of the ramifications of the role or the committee to any educated degree. Opening my computer, I spent the next few hours researching. OMG.
Overnight I was rocketed into a new dimension. We had been given a rare opportunity to make a leap of faith into growing our church more and becoming vessels for change in people’s lives and in the community. Now I have to say our church is special. While having a small congregation, we do a lot with what we have. We genuinely care for one another and we have services we offer up to the community which are used: a food pantry, thrift shop, 6 AA meetings a week make their home in the church, community dinners, and free catering funeral and wedding services.
But we need to do more. I think of our congregation, with its elderly population and its old building requiring constant attention and ask how much more can we accomplish? I would like to start a ministry in the prisons but I would likely be a committee of one. We need to attract the minorities in our community and the children. Young people and young families would be welcomed through our doors. Gay people and those with other alternative lifestyles would be lovingly received.
How do we get the word out? How do we make this old, majestic, but rather intimidating building become user-friendly to those seeing it and not knowing what is within so we can welcome new members? How do we make the children’s rooms safe, happy havens with joyful voices ringing through the halls again? I can remember those sounds, the explorations into vacant rooms and hidden staircases. I want so badly to give other children the opportunities I had here.
And to accomplish those goals, I need to up my game as a leader and as a member of the congregation. How do I ask people who give of themselves all the time to give of themselves more? Busy people, who have jobs and responsibilities, who are lovingly dedicated… is it fair to ask more from them? At least until we see results and the burdens of responsibilities can be shared by new members. In a small congregation, there are many jobs but not enough people to do all of them. What is fair and equitable?
Many questions stir through my head these days, but not near enough answers. I hope to grow clearer and find my way to a resolution soon. In God, I must trust. That is where the answers will come if I can but hear them. As I read through this, I see that is where I left out the primary ingredient. Trust in the Lord and open myself to his voice. Hear the still, small voice within my heart. Or maybe the clangor requiring recognition. Become a true Disciple of God. And trust what must be is what should be, regardless of my perceptions and opinions. I must carry the shovel, use it to the best of my ability, but understand God, not me, is directing the plan.