A few years ago I visited a church where one of my dear friends is a member. At time of the visit, he was very convincing that I should meet one of the pastors at his church. I can still feel his slight pull of my hands in his guiding me into the direction of this church leader. We finally arrived in his space. I was then introduced as a visitor of the church. Within a few seconds of this one-sided conversation, the pastor said to me “If you ever want to serve here, I am the one you need to notify.” This was a strange moment for me and for my friend. I say this because I received this confirmation, without the pastor even knowing my name.
In a different blog I wrote, I voiced the importance of speaking and living out the gospel in every aspect of Christian organizations. In this unique meeting with this pastor, I clearly did not see this, whatsoever. The experience was disheartening as it was crushing. I say crushing, because if the pastor had just taken the time to know me and my work both in ministry and organization development, he would have understood better, that assumptions leading to superiority based on one Christian organization over the other, is not of God. Likewise, I experience this constant behavior in the giving nature of some of these organizations. More on this in another leadership expression.
Since my experience with the pastor I discussed above, I’ve searched for the opportunity to write on this. Today is the day! Numerous studies on the role of volunteering and religion/spirituality in the context of well-being, have been positive. However, it is important to note that this idea is not conclusive in all faiths (Haller & Hadler, 2006).
The focused faith here, is Christianity. Although we know through the results of numerous studies, when one gives of oneself, this offers a sense of well-being. The very act of service to the church and to congregants provide a boost in self-esteem. However, managing people who give of themselves even in Christian organizations, is sometimes easier said than it is done. For example, it can be a frustrating issue for most leaders of these groups. It is almost impossible to have consistency from church members who attend,say, once a month compared to those who are regular attendees. But how can the leader say no to the once-a-month person, when the need is great and standard recruitment is just not working?
From my observation, the basic recruitment strategy of most churches looks like this:
- A basic pulpit announcement
- Last minute need and a rush to fill it
- Forced appeals
An ether of service does not have to resemble these. Administrative processes of any group or programs deliver success in establishing standards (1 Timothy 4:11-12). In administration, there are processes, policies, resources, and development, to consider. Once these four key procedures are in place, in my work, I have experienced smooth sailing. Some sketchy waters at implementation, but smooth sailing in most cases, when these areas are sought. agreed upon, and applied.
Next week, I’ll begin to break down the concepts of successful stewardship resourcefulness within the church. I’ll discuss the impressions of the Ephesian elders, my personal perception of today’s sheep, how to avoid a foot-in-the mouth uncaring moment, (you know, like the one I described above), and how to apply specific ways to achieve exceptional success.
I look forward to sharing more on this topic then.
In grace & in gratitude,
Haller, M., & Hadler, M. (2006). How social relations and structures can produce happiness and unhappiness: An international comparative analysis. Social Indicators Research, 75(2), 169–216. doi:10. 1007/s11205-004-6297-y