Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where's the commitment?

The other day my mom brought something very disheartening to my attention. She had been talking to a friend from our community. This friend told my mom that they may not be able to have a Sunday School program for the children in their church this year, because no one wanted to teach!

Another church in our community had only 6 teens show up for their first youth event of the year! This is a larger church that usually had at least 30-40 teens in their youth group!

It's so discouraging to see our churches losing commitment like this. I don't know what's up, maybe too many other activities in life? Maybe people are becoming too complacent. Maybe people are going to church expecting to be served, instead of expecting to serve.

This has really been on my mind a lot. I've gone through my moments of just wanting my time to myself. Right now I teach Sunday School, help lead our youth group, sing with the worship team, and fill in wherever needed with our other church programs. It can feel very overwhelming sometimes.

This morning I was reading Our Daily Bread. The Bible reading was Romans 12:3-8. Verse 6 says, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us..." The rest of the verses then go on to tell us to use our gifts, and do it cheerfully. Have we lost sight of this? I definitely felt God speaking to me this morning as I was reading. I want this to spur me on to work harder and give more of myself.

If you live in this community, please pray for our churches. Pray for the people to step up and do the work that needs to be done. To look beyond self and think of others. This is as much a reminder to myself as to anyone else.


Gina said...

Thanks for that post Stacey. Myself and a friend are in charge of the clubs program in church and we too only have 1 other volunteer and may not beable to run it this year. I too teach Sunday school and am involved on a committee as well, so I just don't understand when people want nothing to do with helping....

Stam House said...

Thanks for this post!

Speaking for myself I remember being while I was single and being very committed to our church and serving lots but now with a family it's different!

My husband feels that my place is first at home serving our family and when our family will not be dependent on me (meaning children out of home) then I could serve outside.

Titus 2 older women are ask to teach younger one to serve heir home but them self as older they do serve outside!

I'm not saying that only singles and men should be serving in the community churches but God does call us wife and mothers to serve our family first and not the other way around!

My husband is taking care of me by asking me not to commit to do all that I wish to do at church (cause like you my heart goes where the need is) but he is leading me to follow God's plan for us (sometimes it's difficult to submit but I know that he does that to protect me)

And God did give me a huge blessing by giving me a head (my wonderful husband ) and a family to take care of. But with this blessing come great responsibility! Not that salvation comes from me (Cause comes only from the Lord) but I'm in charge not of the outcome but to the process of them getting closer to Him. So if I do not take part of the process I would be sinning cause God give me these little lamb to make them know him

Sorry if this comment makes no sense or is offensive that was not my intention just my opinion on the subject.

Ps if you feel overwhelm It might be an idea of seeking your husband leadership on this issue he might see thing that we has women can't see!

Andrea said...

That post is EXACTLY what Jonathan and I are dealing with/feeling here...we have 30-40 youth in our church...only 5 or less come to youth group. It is very discouraging. The most discouraging part here is that people are just not teaching their kids that church/studying the Bible etc. are priorities. Instead they are teaching them that jobs, getting money, friends, etc. are higher priorities...and the sad thing is that I don't think most of the parents even realize this...or want to realize it!

Ellen said...

Wow Stacey! you are sure involved a lot in church, I can't imagine adding more to that! (as a mother of two anyway) What do you do with your kids while you teach sunday school or do worship? I would like to help out more in our church, cuz I only help out with nursury during the service - occasionally, but I don't have anyone to help me with the kids - so I haven't figured out how I would go about helping with anything else really.. I guess that's along the lines family first. That really is too bad about the sunday school! Kids need that!!

Stacey said...

I know it's so sad. I have to watch myself too, that I don't just expect everyone else to run things. I have to do my part too.

You have a good point, though our church in particular is so young that there are not enough 'older' women to run things. I'm not sure that's the case in all the other churches though.

I guess we had better make sure our kids know where priorities should be :)

Rowan is in my Sunday School class, so he's with me anyway. Bria is with Keith in the adult class while I'm teaching.
When the worship team is singing, my kids usually sit with my parents. During practices, Rowan plays with us and Bria gets into trouble :)

Sheila said...

Good post. I too am very frustrated with the lack of commitment from people within our church. This year I decided to take a break from leading singing with our younger s. s kids, but organize and participate in our worship team, plus I'm on the worship committee which has pretty much become a part time job. I coordinate all the music that gets done in our church. If everybody would put in half an hour a week, all our bases would be covered and then some.
I'm going out on a limb by saying this, but I can sum up this whole lack of committment thing in one word. HOCKEY! It so saddens me when we can't even get enough volunteers to fill all our s.s teaching positions, due to all the upcoming hockey games and tournaments throughout the winter months. I've talked to a number of parents who are happy that they're not teaching, simply because it would take away from their child's hockey games. To that I say, what kind of an example is that! Hockey before s.s! Not in our house! As you know we don't do hockey, but Zach plays ball, and we've always said that if he has a game or tournament on a sunday morning, he just won't play until the afternoon. If we don't set an example, who will? This topic just infuriates me! And I'm not trying to toot our horns here, but really, if we don't consciously try to be examples to others, and especially our own children, who will? Ultimately, we will have to answer in the end. That would be a very sad day if s.s had to be cancelled due to lack of volunteers.

Hey Gina, thanks for all the volunteering you do in church.

Stacey said...

I completely agree about hockey! Keith and I have talked a bit about whether or not Rowan will play hockey, and I just can't see us letting him get so involved like that. I don't want to be carting him all over the province every week.

It's so nice to know that there are some people in town who are doing their part, and I thank you. I know you always work hard at what you do in your church. They need a few more like you and Gina!

Gina said...

Thanks Stacey. Sounds like you do more than your share of helping out as well...

Jay Boaz said...

I think this may be more than just a church issue; rather, it is a volunteer issue. These days the trend with volunteers is to commit for short, specific amounts of time (such as a one-day event), rather than to a long-term program.

The other issue is volunteer burn-out, as it is usually the same people who volunteer over and over, with less new volunteers coming in. It's a trend hurting organizations across the board, not just churches.


Anonymous said...

Maybe it has something to do with the large number of different programs that any given church and/or community is running. As Satcey knows, I am not a fan of running around every night like the proverbial headless chicken after getting home from work. Maybe I am just lazy....good possibility there.

I think some people ( me perhaps? ) are afraid that if they volunteer for one thing that they will get "sucked" into doing more. ( see Jay's "burn out comments ) It's easier just to get in the habit of saying "no".

I think people need to put their family first before programs, meetings, etc. That said it would be better for said family to grow with a strong church enviroment and examples of leadership than to place sports, etc as a higher priority.

Just my 2 cents :)

Liane said...

That's one topic I'm very passionate about. Guys... our kids are the church of tomorrow and the way it is going these days, there might not be a very big church in the future. We need to be an example to them!

If everyone would help out a little bit, the work wouldn't be all left to few people in church!
And to be honest... sometimes I just want to sit at home or visit family and friends, than to be at church every evening, but Hey - we will do enough of that in heaven :)

Jay Boaz said...

Been thinking about the volunteer problem some more, and here is a possible solution for the church you said was having trouble getting Sunday School teachers. Rather than find someone willing to sign up for a full year, get people to sign up for a month or two at a time, and rotate it around. It seems a lot less daunting than signing on for a full year, and it may entice people who wouldn't normally volunteer to do so. They may find they like it and sign up more!

Don't know if that would help or not, but I figured it was worth mentioning. If your mom's friend would like some more information on how to recruit and retain volunteers, let me know, as I know of a resource person or two that may be able to help.


Stam House said...

Sorry if I sound like a party pooper but I believe that it's the parents resposability to teach our children about God. Sunday school is a bonus but not a must!

If we go back to the early church what was their churches like did they have youth group, kid choir etc...

I think we could grow under our pastor teaching and be involve in each others life (that is important to grow as christian) but we should be more involved in serving our community (ie. non believers, the sick the homeless, the elderly...) We are more on being serve then serving.

God call each to serve where we are it might be to serve our family, community, street etc.. but God put us where we should be and if we are doing it in our own flesh we will get exhausted!!!! But doing the Lord will give us more energy!

Speaking from my experience certain ministry would drain me but other I would not get enough of it! God blesses us with gift and those gift should be use to give Him the glory and not to satisfy our fleshly desire of doing good!

Remember their is nothing that we could do that could make God love you less but also their is nothing that you could do that could make Him love you more.

aunt Monika said...

The saying is: "20% of the people doing 80% of the work". I find that to be true everywhere. Volunteers are hard to get and even harder for them to be committed to sticking it through. I have learned who I can rely on and who I try to avoid asking because I know they'll find an excuse.

Bethany said...

Wow, lots of thoughts and perspectives on this..Good. I'm glad that people are thinking. :) I guess I might as well add my two cents worth. I'd just like to say that I think that all the programs we offer in a church are important and have started out with the basic purpose of meeting needs that are not being met outside of the church. Sunday School, Youth etc. But that is not the only reason. Sunday School should not be only for the children, but also for the teachers and in the case of our adult sunday school. This is an amazing opportunity to learn and to grow, for parents as well as kids. The teachers of sunday school classes often learn just as much or more from their classes than the kids do. I also think that youth is a great ministry, but in some cases it can just be another activity for the kids and we are constantly competing for the kids attention. This shouldn't be the case because it loses it's depth and meaning as a place for them to learn as well as socialize. I agree that parents should be teaching their kids at home, but unfortunately that rarely happens. Kids are so busy elsewhere that it's too hard for the parent to compete for their attention. I have many more thoughts, but that's where I'll leave it for now.