Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I guess I just don't understand

Recently, as you may have noticed, we had something called Christmas to celebrate.  It's tradition to have something to celebrate in the darkest days of winter, and when you add in lots of lights and PRESENTS and rich food and drinkies, I'm pretty sure nobody should argue that Christmas (even if a slightly artificial construct that draws from many similar types of midwinter celebrations) is worth having every year.

Check Stitchipedia for an explanation!
Therefore, our church had 3 Christmas Eve services this year, at 3 p.m., 4:30, and 6, to help the believers and seekers and dutiful celebrate...the birth of Jesus and more sun every day (also worth celebrating, though that bit was left out of the sermon).  There were a TON of people there, we raised a significant amount of money to help plant a(nother) church in Ecuador, lots of new folks got their yearly dose of Jesus, and it was a lot of work getting it all to run smoothly.  I have some notion of that, because I helped staff the info booth for one service and was on the safety team for another service.  We Were Busy.

By my estimate, there are about 30 people who volunteer on service teams during each service to help keep things running.  This includes folks in the band, on the AV team, the ushers, the parking lot team, the safety team, the cafe folks, the infobooth people, and the teachers.  Thirty is probably an underestimate, but let's be conservative.  If each person switches out for someone new in the next service, that means that there would be 90 people on a Sunday (we also have 3 services on Sunday) who volunteer to help keep the show going.  Out of a population of about 1000 who attend services at our site every week, this mean that 9% of the attendees are keeping all the plates spinning and making sure that the other 91% are having a good experience.

I will interject here that a goodly number of people who serve, serve for more than 1 service, which makes that 9% number shrink, but again, let's be conservative.

Those 90 people are doing some work on a Sunday, y'all, and also did so on a very busy Christmas eve.  So this year, like in years past, the staff opted to NOT meet on the Sunday following Christmas, to give themselves and the volunteer corps a chance to chill for one Sunday in the year.  This was duly announced during the CE services and also on Facebook, so the word could spread around.

Well, one person didn't much care for that, and suggested (paraphrasing here a little): 'I don't agree with this.  Churches should be open every Sunday.  Why couldn't you get a team of temporary volunteers to help run the services if you want to give the regulars a break?'

Let's unpack this gem from the commenter's perspective, shall we?

  • I think church should be open every Sunday and shame on you for not doing so.
  • I have not expressed this to anyone before now, or talked to staff, because if I had I would have better understood how much into each service that I'm not aware of.
  • I think the staff should have recruited at least 30, but perhaps as many as 90, people to volunteer to run the services.  
  • Some of them will have to know how to run a sophisticated sound board, or know how to play an instrument, or make coffee, or have the patience of Job with babies, but hey:
  • These fill-in will only have to do this once a year when the regulars are being given a break from their week-in-week-out service.
  • It really shouldn't that difficult to get 30 (or 90) people to do this once a year!
  • Because, after all, how hard could it be?

Well, y'all.


I ALLLLLMOST responded to this person, but in the end just bit my (online) lip and did not.  See the things is that 1)I don't recognize him. 2) There are no church friends who are mutual friends with him.  3) I have a lot of church friends on FB, and am at church nearly every week so I recognize folks so if 1 and 2 are true he may not be the world's most regular attender or just hasn't involved himself enough in church to be memorable or make any friends at church with whom I might also be friends.

It seems apparent that he's one of the 91% who thinks that just GOING to church is enough and that if the show is good enough he'll contribute some money and a helpful suggestion about How Things Ought To Be from time to time.  Well, friends, I'm here to say that in my opinion, he gets no say and should have kept that entitled attitude about how hard other people should work to his own dang self and not outed himself as the Queen Bee of Snoot on MY church's FB page.

Questions arise, such as:

Would it have been overreacting to say something along those lines?

Did I miss my golden opportunity or did I do that right thing by not dignifying his ignorant contribution with a response or rebuke?

Is he the QB of S or am I just being overly sensitive?

We may never know, but I do really REALLY hope one of the staff reached out to this fellow and invited him to join a service team.  Or 8.

Tiff out.


kenju said...

You did the right thing. People like him will not have their minds changed by anyone on line. He is wrong, IMO. when I attended your church, many moons ago, I volunteered as a host. They were always asking for more people, and they probably always will.

rennratt said...

You made the right (but tough) call by keeping silent on this one. Also? Your volunteer estimate is either right on (awesome, by the way) or HIGH (normal amount of volunteers are likely lower).

The Complainers live EVERYWHERE, and generally show up to church ready to be entertained or anesthetized into a happy place every week.

LL said...

No number title? And I was just getting into the rhythm of things...

As for the rest... well... takers and makers my dear... takers and makers...

Anonymous said...

High road... High road...