by contributing writer Heidi Eastman
For the last few weeks, Pastor Amos has been asking for help in child and youth ministries. Every area of ministry needs leadership. And obviously, enough of us are not stepping up quickly.
I wonder how many are actually involved in any area of ministry? And I wonder how many of the rest are too busy, too lazy, physically unable, or too burned out from helping in the past?
And I wonder how many people are thinking “I don’t feel called”?
For those of you involved: thank you!
I am so thankful that I get welcomed every Sunday morning by happy faces greeting me at the door and others taking up the offering. I am so thankful to have somewhere to take my kids on a Sunday morning so I can sit and hear a sermon. I am thankful to have a team of musicians on the stage welcoming me in with song. I am so thankful that our church is a place hurting people can find support and healing. I am thankful for the lovely people who serve drinks in the foyer. And I’m thankful for all those other volunteers who help make the church an environment I am proud to be a part of.
For those who don’t help: why not?
Too busy? I understand. I am married to this one. And if he were to suggest volunteering at the church with his current schedule, I would be the one to say no. When you are so busy, the last thing you need is adding one more thing to your plate. You need to take care of yourself and when this busy season ends, the church will appreciate your hard work in whatever area of ministry you decide to join. But, before using this reason, honestly evaluate your life – are you actually too busy or is it just the first excuse that comes to mind?
Too lazy? Just stop (or should that be start?). Jump in. Not every area of ministry involves hours of time. For example, the nursery could use you. Show up on your scheduled Sunday and play with babies. You can sit in the comfy chairs (unless you have to bounce a crying baby) and read stories to babies if you choose. It may not seem like a big deal to you but for the stay-at-home mom whose only break from her baby is the nursery, this ministry can be a life-saver.
Physically unable? If you want to help but have physical limitations, ask the leadership if they can use you. I expect if you are able to get into the building, the answer will be yes! A few years ago, one of the youth leaders was well into his 80’s. He couldn’t play the crazy games, but he cheered on and encouraged the teens. Perhaps seeing you there will inspire some of those kids. Perhaps your physical limitations will open doors to relationships you never considered.
Burned out? I’m sorry. Sometimes we do have to take time out to care for ourselves and that’s okay. Personally, I stayed in an area of ministry longer than was healthy for me but I found it hard to step out when I didn’t see other people stepping in. I would love to see a church where there is such a strong volunteer base that when one of us needs a rest, we can do so guilt-free knowing that everything is covered. Everything has a season and I think that applies to ministry as well. Sometimes we just need rest, and we need to know the gaps are filled to make our time away refreshing. I hope you find the rest you need and can rejoin us soon – motivated and enthusiastic.
You don’t feel called? I have been involved in some area of ministry since I attended high school. And guess what? I don’t feel “called” to help – and I never have.
And I think that’s okay.
And I think it might be normal.
This “called” word that gets tossed around in Christian circles gives us an easy excuse not to help. If we say “but I don’t feel called,” other Christians don’t dare question us.
But I am going to.
What if being a Bible-believing-Jesus-loving-Christian is all the calling we need?
I believe God can use us without a clear calling.
But why would I help when I don’t feel called? My current reasons include:
- I love our church.
- I feel most connected to other people when I am actively involved in something.
- I want to set an example for my children of the importance of volunteerism.
- My current job does not use my social work background, and I spent a lot of time (and money) learning those skills, and I don’t want to lose them.
- My toddler needs to learn that the world will not end if Mommy is not home every single night.
- But the bottom line is: I am a Bible-believing-Jesus-loving-Christian, and I think that is all the calling I need.
So please – honestly evaluate why you are not currently helping at the church. If you don’t have a good excuse then make a change and get involved. It may surprise you to find that ministry will sometimes impact you just as much or more than those you are there to help.
1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Heidi Eastman lives in Neustadt with her husband, two daughters, and a beast of a dog. She has been an active part of the HMC congregation from the moment she was old enough to contribute. You can find her over at her own blog, My Sister Told Me To Start A Blog. [Articles by Heidi]