Written by: Conrade Yap
Date: 27 April 2011
TEXT: "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)
MAIN POINT: Are we ‘doing’ Church or ‘being’ Church? If anyone asks you the first question, see it as an opportunity to VOLUNTEER the second question. Are we stuck in doing church? (1st question). Or are we being Church? (2nd question)
What comes to mind when you think of Church? For some of us, it is basically going to Church for Sunday services. Be on time. Be on our best attire. Be present with others in worship. For many, it is also a time of spiritual nourishment, through the sermons and the overall worship experience. In any church, there are ordinary church-goers, sprinkled with a small group of gutsy church-servers. Based on the ‘pareto principle,’ a large group is served by a small group. A typical 'pareto principle' for Church is 80-20. It basically means 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people at any one time. In some cases, I hear that it can be lower than the 95-5 percentile.
Efforts to address the lack of servers in Church are met with standard replies like "I'm busy," or "I don't have the time," or "I am not gifted," or "Thanks, but no thanks!"
Having served in various leadership positions in churches, I am used to people replying in the negative when it comes to serving in church. It can be discouraging. What makes it even more disconcerting is that many churches seem to be fighting a losing battle as far as the 'pareto principle' is concerned. You can say that the Church is God's House, but chances are people are more likely to tend to their own houses first. They quote 1 Tim 3:5 about the need to manage their own households first, as a convenient escape clause from Christian service.
In some cases, some church-goers even think that all the work should be done by all the paid staff in church! Why are there so few volunteers in church ministries? In this article, I shall try to list three common reasons, followed by a proposed paradigm shift for all members.