Monday, October 8, 2012

One Body Short of Exploding

"We are on the cusp of exploding," I described to my elders at a recent meeting. "We are just one or two bodies short." We always are. We may always be.

Case and point: Saturday we scheduled a Paint and Scrub Party. We had a hallway described as "in process." Late in July a group of Operation Barnabas students put the first coat of paint on the cinder blocks. The second level of blocks was not smooth, but rough. The paint didn't take well. The students ran out of time. The hallway remained "in process" for two months afterward.

I'd hoped the Paint and Scrub Party would complete the process. No one touched the hallway. Only three bodies came to paint. They tackled the nursery--another lingering job that remains lingering.
My problem is that I tend to fuss about those who chose not to attend, rather than glory in the few who are there to serve. Reasons for not coming on a work day abound: poor communication, busy schedules, unappealing tasks, forgetfulness, laziness, and college football.

The same reasons surface when we hold hours of prayer at our church. Attendance stinks. I fuss about the absentees rather than the intercessors.

This feeling of frustration pervades most areas of ministry:
    • We need one more couple in the nursery to keep it staffed
    • We need one more teacher for children to fill the rotation
    • We need one more musician to perfect the band
    • We need one more girl to bring balance to the youth group
    • We need one more evangelist to inspire our outreach
    • We need one (or three) more names for the annual ballot

    Of course, I would be foolish to think this problem plagues only smaller churches. A recent conversation with a small group leader at a large church confessed the need for more leaders. Talks with other pastors have revealed a similar sentiment: One more body would make us better.

    The challenge lies in defining what is "better." It is not bigger. Nor is it more efficient. To employ one of Jesus' metaphors, the best churches are those that harvest. "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest, that He might raise up workers for the harvest" (Luke 10:2b).

    According to Jesus, harvesting work begins with prayer. Unfortunately, our church is one intercessor short.

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