Sunday, November 12, 2006

What I did this Saturday and what I think

I spent Saturday working at my church I ran A/V for a Group Publishing event. It’s a pretty easy gig and the pay is nice. The only issue is that you spend several hours sitting and pushing a computer button. I know some of you do that all day, I’m not sure that’s for me.

I was a bit disappointed in not seeing anyone from any ministry team in our church, this was about getting and appreciating volunteers. Those are difficult issues at times and we should have had leaders at the event. I asked my husband why he didn’t consider going and he told me he was unaware of it. Hmmm could be no one knew.

Balls get dropped. Lip service happens.
We all have great ideas and we want to put these great events on yet we don’t always have time nor want to do the work, we expect others to take it on. When was the last time you showed up with cleaning supplies to clean a wall? How about just fixing the toilet instead of reporting that it still has a broken handle? I want to tell people when the complain about a mess or broken objects to pitch in and help, I don’t instead I tell my husband.

I have found myself volunteering for jobs then thinking "Was I just insane at that moment?" We’ve made some staffing changes in our church and I’m wondering how much of the load I can take on, that’s crazy for me to do much more. That’s another problem, some of us do more than we should we neglect or families and our own time, the time we should be spending with God. I doubt that many of us haven’t at times been so focused on the task at hand that we have neglected to see God. We dash around doing "God’s work" so much that we aren’t doing God’s work. I love the verse in the song "For a song in it self is not what you require" God doesn’t want us to over stress ourselves. He wants us to give with a glad heart, that’s not just about handing over money. Give time with a happy heart.

Something very cool happened at this event Saturday, I couldn’t keep up with the script. It’s scripted so that the slides go with what they are saying. It has places in the script for the presenter to tell stories and ask questions so it becomes more personal. I was trying my best to keep up but couldn’t. The presenter came back after the first break and said I don’t know it seems as if God has taken over I’ve never deviated from the script like this before. She allowed for the needs of the crowd, it was great. She let God take over, we were patient with each other on the slides and videos so we weren’t stressed.

I had an issue with a question that came up. What do you do when an unbeliever wants to volunteer, how do you tell them they can’t do that?
Did she say that the way we heard it?

Sure now I’ll agree you might not want a non believer teaching children unsupervised, then again what? I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of this ever being an issue. When someone comes into the church you should welcome them and if they volunteer then let them. (Yes you want to make sure it’s safe and you give the guidance. If they walk in those doors then they believe in God. They may not know all the details but they know something bigger is at work and they need us to open our arms and love them.

So you know I hate the titles unbeliever, nonbeliever, and unchurched. If I heard someone call me that not actually knowing who I was I’d walk out of the building.


codepoke said...

This is an interesting subject, Milly. Or rather, 2 or 3 interesting subjects. :-)

I'm with you on the volunteering thing. I'm happy in my current little church. Everyone kind of does something, and everything gets done. It seems like the way things should be. But I have been in some places, where it ain't even a little like that. Mostly in my company, though.

So, too, on the volunteering too much.

About unbelievers. Hmmmm.

I would like to hear a little more about this. How would you like to see the church interact with those who don't believe Jesus is Lord?

Milly said...

I'll post my thoughts on this and open it up. Later tomorrow I'm working a memorial service in the AM.

byevad said...

Milly, I can relate to the "volunteering too much" aspect of your post.

There was a point last year where our Minister resigned. It took us several months for God to show us who the new Minister should be (and we are very blessed!). During that time, Ali and I volunteered to take on more and more because very few others would step up. I had to fight the temptation to become bitter. I actually had one brother pull me aside and tell me that we shouldn't hire anyone, we should be able to work as a church family within the bounds of our membership. There was blood on my tongue as I bit it. I wanted to explode: "Then step up and DO something!" But that wasn't what he needed to hear at the time...

Anyway, my experience is that too much volunteering leads to burn out and an eventual pulling back of the heart toward others. That does not do God any good, nor does it serve his church.

I look forward to more on the subject of the volunteering of unbelievers/non-church members/etc. I think there are some types of service that are Ok, and some that are not (serving with the kids for instance).

Kansas Bob said...

Volunteer unbelievers - what a great idea! Guess it really depends on the individual person and the specific position. Maybe an unbeliever could work well as an assistant to an experienced believer/teacher ... of course we are always looking for greeters and ushers. I am with you Milly about loving these folks into the kingdom ... afterall believing is more of a process than a destination ... maybe being a volunteer is part of their process.

L.E.Meredith said...

Milly refuseing help from a non-Christian does not sound much like Jesus. non-believer, un-believer, un-churched. are these not the people Jesus came to die for? If we lock them out how are they ever going to get in. I believe the problem lies within the "Christian's" heart not in the sinners hands.

codepoke said...


My first thought is that if the church is structured such that those who don't accept Christ have a useful function, then the church is structured wrong.

Take ushers, for example. Would you have ushers at a family reunion? You're family! We have ushers because we have pews, and pews are evil. Pews tell everyone involved that the primary function of the church is to be lectured, and that is abominable. The primary function of the church is to love, and I ain't never seen nothing like love that involves pews.

I guess it comes down to perspective. I think of the boyfriend of my daughter coming to a family reunion. I'll involve him. I'll let him carry trays of hors douvres or whatever.


Thinking. :-)

Danny Kaye said...

Can I be on the opposite side of the fence here?

I can!? goes.

There is absolutely NO WAY I want a non-Christian coming into the Children's Ministry (CM); supervised or not.

We have worked extremely hard to get the CM where it is. At present, there is about 75% of the church serving in the CM, and there is a very thorough screening process to ensure that, for the kids sake, and for the sake of protecting the church, the children are safe at all costs. We don't even have newly converted Christians or move-ins serve in the CM for around 6 months. This is just as much for the new convert and move-in as it is for the children.

Why would we even consider compromising that? Surely there are other ways of making the Non-Christians who visit our churches feel like they are welcomed warmly.

When I do other volunteer work, I am more than eager to have a non-Christian help out.


Milly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Milly said...

I agree that the children must be protected physically and spiritually.

I do want to ask this have you ever seen a non believer walk in and ask to volunteer like that?

I am honestly wondering because I have yet to hear of it.

I do think that making sure that the teachers are teaching proper curriculum is important. You wouldn’t want someone deviating and teaching against the Bible. I’d bet that most churches have had that problem with one or two teachers teaching something a bit different.

I’ve had an FBI check and I had to fill out a rather personal Q&A form. Some were so offended by the fact that they were asked personal questions about sex that they left the church. It’s no big deal if it saves the children. You in no way are on the other side of the fence we all agree that the safety of the kids is very important. Trust me it hits me hard that it isn’t taken that way in every church.

byevad said...

I have actually been asked by someone who was visiting one of our services if they could volunteer for helping out in the kids' classes... (To be fair there was an announcement made that we needed people to volunteer -- so it wasn't an "out-of-the-blue" request.) We handled it gently explaining the process that needed to take place (including placing membership so the teachers were on the same page belief-wise).

I think the answer to this question is "it depends". It depends on the individual and it depends on the task being volunteered for.

Some things are right out, like volunteering for working with the kids. Some things are grayer. Some things are welcomed, like helping to hand out bulletins.

Just my opinion... :-)

Karen said...

I had a non-believer help me in junior high ministry. He believes in God; just hasn't tagged onto Jesus yet.
He was the best help I've ever had. He never, ever caused a problem. He's also one of the best care takers of those who are sick or hurting; always faithful to call and check on folks.

harland said...