Church has become very time consuming over the past month. Our church is small and 20% of the members do 100% of the work. All of the leaders wear many hats. With it being strictly volunteer work, it's easy to grow weary from being spread so thin. I currently serve as:
- Session member (the governing body of a PCUSA church)
- Transition Committee member (team that assists in transition of interim pastor after permanent pastor leaves the church)
- Christian Education Committee chair (coordinate all Sunday School and Nursery volunteer schedules, ensure classes have curriculum and teachers every week, organize CE events throughout the year)
- Youth Director (lead weekly high school youth group meetings, facilitate service projects)
- Small Group facilitator (lead short term small groups four times a year)
I often find myself feeling overwhelmed and under pressure to complete all of the tasks. At times, I even dread participating in them. When I have to miss a birthday party or time with my family, it's so tempting to just cancel youth group or respond that I can't attend a meeting. Yet, I always go, and when I leave, I feel so refreshed and grateful. It's impossible to not feel God working in our church. I feel the love of Christ among the youth, small groups, and committees. I have to constantly remind myself that we are the hands and feet of Christ, and I should joyfully give my time and energy while I have it to give. (Next year when I go back to work is a whole different story!)
Within the last several weeks I have:
Organized the annual Sunday School Kickoff breakfast. We thanked previous teachers and nursery volunteers and shared upcoming events. Rather than hand-wright 40 thank-you cards, I made this cute photo card from Walgreens:
There's a lot of behind the scenes work and little details that go into an hour long program. Announcements must be made to notify the congregation. Agendas must be created and copied. Thank you cards and gifts must be created/purchased with a very minimal budget. Setting up tables and chairs, tableware, centerpieces, drinks, and food are more obvious, yet time consuming tasks.
I've spent countless hours trying to find Sunday School teachers, creating schedules, and sending out lessons. After our pastor left this summer, many people found it easier to resign from previous volunteer positions that they had held for many years. It's been difficult to find new energy.
Another big part of my church commitment is leading youth group. I'm creating activities and lessons from John Ortberg's book, The Me I Want to Be. Last week the teens opened up about the versions of themselves that they pretend to be or that other people expect them to be. It's never easy being a teenager, but it seems even harder today than it was 15 years ago.
Session members rotate setting up and serving communion. I had the honor of serving communion today, which is World Communion Sunday. I've only served communion once before, and today was the first time I've set up. Everything is so meticulous.
One of my favorite traditions at our church is having a bilingual worship service on World Communion Sunday. A Latino congregation meets at our church shortly after our service. In recent years. we've partnered with the Latino community for joint services and programs. It's a powerful reminder that we are all connected through Christ, despite backgrounds, ethnicity, or languages spoken.
We enjoyed a potluck lunch after the service. The triplets weren't the happiest children in the world, but we made it through lunch before major meltdowns. I love being able to share a meal and fellowship together.
While church takes up much more of my time than Jesse would like, my church community is such a big part of my life. The more I invest myself in the church community, the more meaningful it becomes. They challenge me, inspire me, and keep me grounded.