We recently had a meeting at our church about our midday service. There are some questions about how this service will develop, and even if it will continue at all. The committee that has worked tirelessly making this alternative worship service vibrant and unique is stressed by the demands of the job and the lack of response from the congregation as a whole. I understand exactly where they are coming from. I would like to see the service develop and get more support from other members of our church and bring in new folks from the community, but as so often happens in our congregation, programs that are initially met with enthusiasm are not supported in the long term. The midday service meeting and the meeting of committee chairs last night has caused me to do a lot of thinking. Our congregation is not unique in having difficulty getting members to do the many volunteer tasks it takes to run a church, but we do seem to have more leadership burnout than most churches or organizations to which I have belonged.
I think it was Eric Hoffer who said that the mind needs a bone to chew on, and my mind always has some puzzle to gnaw at as I go about my business. So this is the bone for today, why does our congregation have so much difficulty maintaining and developing programs and why are we burning out our leaders? It isn’t a new bone for me, but one I’ve been gnawing on for quite a while.
Another bone I have been gnawing on is what I want from a worship service. One thought is that when I come to a service, I am as much responsible for making something happen for me as those who have planned the service. I am even wondering if worship is the right word for what I want from the service. The dictionary defines worship as:
“reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred. A formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage.” Most of the time, I do not go to a service to honor or pay homage to a superior entity. One thought is that I go to become connected to the spiritual side of myself and connect with others in a spiritual way. I’m not sure exactly what that means. Well, I am off to work, and to gnaw on my bones.