I’m to the point in my life where certain meetings just frustrate me. Last night was such a meeting.
I attend a small rural church. In my childhood, there were many children, many teens, many adult hands to share and distribute the labor. Things have changed. While my parents’ generation still represents the majority of the attendees of the church, many of those people are now elderly and no longer help with the labor. They no longer teach, attend meetings, help with church programs. There are a small number of hands in my age group (let’s call this 35-55) and very few children and teens.
Last night, we had a meeting to discuss Sunday School. After all, Sunday School is the life blood of any church. We made a plea for attendance, my nominating committee partner and I made a bunch of homemade pie and waited for those who might help us shore up the program and contribute new ideas to arrive. Acute disappointment. It was the same small group who does everything in our church. Frustration number one.
By the end of a two hour meeting we hadn’t accomplished much other than to talk about the same old things we always talk about. (Emphasis on TALK ABOUT). It was my personal hope at the beginning of the meeting to be able to help make a case for the youth group. They really need a devoted space that is large enough to work with. By the end of the meeting, we had accomplished the following:
- a larger room for the senior adult class
What we hadn’t accomplished was:
- figuring out how to get more Sunday School teachers
- getting substitutes
- identifying space for our teenagers
- filling the now empty nursery (which is the largest classroom) with any children at all—it’s currently empty
- training for current or future teachers (the thought was if you give them the teachers book, that should be enough, they’ll figure it out)
Although we had a great sermon from a visiting pastor last week about getting out of our comfort zone, it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Everyone thought it was a great sermon and enjoyed the humor in the delivery. I guess they missed the point that the pastor was talking to and about them. Bummer, huh?
So, I continue to be frustrated with my church. Burned out in my role as music director, teacher and deacon, and no relief for any of that in sight. I watch our fledgling teen program teetering on the brink, their leaders (my daughter and her husband) sensing that what they hear is all nice, polite lip service, but, that no one cares enough to really do what needs to be done. They’ll leave in awhile and we’ll be right back to square one. No one else will commit to stay for the long haul. As long as there is a committed handful of 10-12 people doing absolutely everything, the rest of the church will remain happily in their comfort zone.
The only thing left to do this morning is pray that God will help me get past this frustration and to a more positive state of mind. Patience is hard when you’ve already been patient for years. Maybe I need to go read some great stories about Job, Moses, etc., to remind me that I’m not the only one who had to be patient, or got frustrated.
I’m through writing now. On to something more positive. Thanks for listening to me rant.