Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Complicated Church Life (Updated)

If I got paid for everything (or anything) I did at church, I would have a full time income. My involvement with the church causes me a great deal of joy, though responsibility also can bring stress. Just in the past ten days I have:

-Purchased and attempted to hang new whiteboard and calendar in the youth room.
We broke a drill bit in the process of going through cinder block.
Unfortunately I have to personally buy everything and wait to be reimbursed. 

-Partnered with another youth group to attend a movie night.
I spent nearly an hour just driving to transport youth to and from their homes.
We watched When the Game Stands Tall.

--Prepared a taco feast for 40+ homeless guests and volunteers.
Prior to the event, I had to plan a menu that would allow everyone to contribute in cooking, buy all the ingredients, bake a pound cake, fry 12 pounds of beef, and pick up the youth that cannot drive. This is one our favorite service projects and we really enjoy cooking together and eating dinner with our homeless neighbors.

-Scheduled and attended a photo shoot for the church directory.
I don't have a good eye for coordinating outfits, but I did my best with the clothes we had. The kids and I met Jesse at the church. Since this was the first professional family pictures we've had since 2012, we decided to purchase the images (with the church discount). I'll post those once we've received the CD.

Not pictured:

-Researched read-a-loud books and refreshments for the Easter Egg Hunt. It is only three weeks away and my team has a LOT of work to do to pull it off!

-Brought dinner over to a mom of twins.

-Led the last small group in our series. This is one of my favorite aspects of the church and I am always in a better mood after small group!

-Attended a last minute session meeting where the pastor ANNOUNCED HIS RESIGNATION! After 14 years in our church, he will be moving across the county this summer. I love the pastor and the congregation, but I would have never agreed to be on session had I suspected I would be spending the next year on search committees looking for an interim pastor, then a permanent pastor. This is a long, arduous process in the Presbyterian Church.

Church has become a source of internal conflict for me. (Please note I am specifically referring to the church, not my religious views or faith.) I miss the days where I attended church for no other reason than I wanted to go. I feel like I should be spending spare time working at a paying job rather than volunteering for so many hours. At the same time, I feel inspired every time I meet with the youth group, small group, session, and christian education team. I am pleased that I can contribute to the life of the church and constantly be enriched by my church family. 

I fear that my involvement with the church will become items on a to-do list, rather than meaningful opportunities to share the love of Christ. Once again, it's about finding a healthy balance.

-A few hours after publishing this post, I received an extremely thoughtful card with a very generous check from a fellow church member. Among many things, she let me know that she appreciated my involvement with the youth. 
-The following day, the pastor singled me out (along with a few other names) during his sermon to recognize some of the leaders among the church. His message was to not worry about his resignation, since the interim period will be a time where our congregation can reflect on the needs and wants of the church and create change. 
-During youth group that afternoon, a new teenager attended for the first time. 
-It seems that anytime I begin to question or doubt my role in the church, God reaffirms that I am exactly where I need to be.

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