“I just love putting together the Sunday roster!”
Said no church administrator EVER.
You might be able to relate to this. There’s a long list of things to be done to make the church service happen on a Sunday. And yet, in most communities I have been part of, there never seems to be enough names to fill the gaps.
Or, as many people experience, the same names come up on that darn roster time and time again.
Notices get placed in the bulletin asking for “someone (anyone) to volunteer for X, Y, Z role”. Or someone might stand up and make an announcement.
“You’re not needed to serve” is rarely the case!
I mean, have you ever offered to do something at church only to be told, “Sorry! We have enough helpers and you’ll have to wait until someone gives up their spot before we can entrust you with that particular duty. In fact – all our opportunities to serve are currently taken! Please, feel free to come along to church each week, sit back, and take it all in. It’s all covered.”
And yet – I wouldn’t want anyone to be told that either. Because a very important part of belonging to a church community is to do more than just attend, consume, chat, and leave.
A time for watching …
In recent months, my family has moved interstate and we have started attending a new-to-us church. It’s been a good few months of settling in, meeting new brothers and sisters and connection.
… And a time to roll up the sleeves and get in there
But we’re keenly aware that we ought not continue simply attending. We are ready to serve in whatever way fits both (a) our gifts and skills (b) what is needed by the church and (c) what is realistic as parents of young, dependent children.
Sunday church is like a family gathering – everyone lends a hand
When we serve on a Sunday (I’m aware there are many weekly ministries also. I’m just picking on Sunday), it’s like a family gathering, where everyone pitches in as much as their capability and energy allows.
Soon Christmas season will begin and with its accompanying outreach activities and extra services, there are even more opportunities to serve and give our time and energy.
Be encouraged; don’t see your jobs as a burden
It can feel like a heavy burden at times, particularly if you are one of those people who seems to be on one (or three) duties almost every Sunday.
But I plead with you; don’t lose heart. Serving in this way is never meant to be a burden. And if it helps, know that your efforts do not go unnoticed by people – least of all by God.
Please serve with a cheerful heart
And if you find yourself resenting what you’re doing, then please step back and prayerfully consider that it’s not just the fact that we serve at church, but the attitude with which we fulfil our tasks, that matters more to God.
Are you serving because “if I don’t do it, no one else will?” Or are you serving because you love to use whatever God has given you to bless others?
Not everyone can serve in the same amounts or ways
And a final caveat; I’m aware that there are those in the community for whom just turning up on a Sunday is all their energy and health can allow them to do. Please don’t take my comments as saying that you are not good enough if you’re not doing anything on a roster. Please continue coming. Please continue praying for the church – that in and of itself is a great gift of service to your church community.
So cheers to you, attenders, prayers, cleaners, coffee servers, Sunday School leaders, Bible readers, sound desk operators, musicians, chair stackers, room tidy-ers, the do-whatever-you-notice-ers, etc etc. Your service is a sweet offering to the Lord and His community in which you dwell.
Sarah Urmston is a follower of Jesus whose current season of life sees her fully occupied by raising two gorgeous young children with her husband Stephen. In moments when time allows for pursuits of the heart, Sarah loves to keep in touch with friends (especially thanks to Facebook), sing and play piano, and enjoy a good cup of tea.
Sarah Urmston previous articles may be viewed