Monday, May 15, 2006


I get to experience all sorts of new leadership challenges everyday. Most of the time it's pretty darn cool. Sometimes, not so much. And sometimes, I come out of the whole experience wondering what just happened. The latter is the boat I found myself in late last week.
In a meeting that I was leading (I know,it's scary enough that I have SOME responsibilities, let alone leading stuff) we were discussing volunteers for various ministries and the challenges of getting and keeping willing bodies. One way we are trying to keep our volunteers energized by trying to identify some ways to keep them from over-committing.
The conversation moved into giving breaks to those that were obviously weary. Of course, when that starts happening, then there are gaps and the question comes up of how to fill them. You get the idea; it's a circle.
Well, as were were muddling through all this trying to come up with a viable strategy, a statement was made that shocked me. It was suggested that we will just have to tell some leaders that they cannot take a break right now because we don't have enough help.
It was quickly supported by another leader, surprising me further.
Here's the issue for me. I believe that we serve an amazing God that loves and embraces us so completely that our whole concept of love for each other is just a natural outpouring of our understanding of God's love for us. The rub then is this: if we say we truly love God and have a basic concept of His love for us, why do we find a million other things to do that take precedence over volunteering in ways that show our love for Him? He designated the church to be His way to spread love, peace and life to a world in need of these things right? So why don't we get more excited about investing in the lives of other through service?
I think the attitude of deservance is a big part of this. I think we, the church, have created environments that lead us to think we deserve what we're giving ourselves, that it's all about what's fair to us and what we have time and energy for. And if we can't get to the God stuff, it's okay, He would want us to be happy.
Maybe, instead of spending so much time coming up with new, trendy, more effective ways to recruit volunteers, we, the church, should spend some time questioning if we are living out the life of Christ? I think if we can answer that question, the rest sort of falls into place by way of, and this is big so don't miss it, Joyful Obedience. Not obligatory obedience, joyful odebedience.
I have a lot to learn in this area. I'm hoping that by writing it down, I will be more attentive to my attitudes toward serving.

PS--here's another log for the fire: Can different cultures interpret obligation differently to a point where they can find joy in obligation?
More on that another day.


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