I am obviously posting today – a Saturday – but I want to do a great job helping you, so I won’t usually post on weekends. That will give me a couple days each week to formulate my thoughts, look up backup Scripture and plan out what to post during the week.
After I wrote the “no president of anything” comment the other day, I was asked (in a post comment) how far I carried that – because I obviously did lead some things – like Sparks (which if you aren’t familiar with Awana language) is the Awana club for kindergarten – second graders.) Actually Sparks is a good example of my “philosophy.”
But to start at the beginning about president –
I refuse to run for president of the United States. (Who would ever want that job? Talk about living in a fishbowl!)
All right, seriously, I stayed away from being the president of any ladies’ group. Part of my feeling on this was passed down from my parents. My mother stayed away from leading the ladies’ groups and my dad felt strongly about that. Sometimes if you put yourself in the position of leading or controlling or making decisions about what the church ladies do, what happens seeps over into whether or not people like the pastor. Or if two ladies get upset with each other (oh my, like THAT would ever happen), it then becomes something that affects the pulpit ministry because YOU’RE involved. If you’re on the sidelines, then the problem isn’t personally affecting the pastor’s family and the problem then becomes easier for the pastor to solve.
Not everyone would agree with that and right now I attend a church of several thousand and the pastor’s wife is in charge of the Womens’ Ministry and I guess that’s fine. I haven’t been there long enough or gotten to know the ladies well enough to know if people are ok with that or not. Does she get paid? I have no idea. So, I’m not saying it doesn’t work. I just chose not to do it.
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses (2 Corinthians 6:3-4)
The thing is – we’re servants. Servants serve (otherwise we’d be called something else.) Servants do the job that needs to be done. If there’s absolutely, no one else who can do the job – then step into the position and do what you do well. But give someone else the opportunity to be in charge. Give someone else the opportunity to shine. Then help and support that person by serving.
Our first church was in a tiny, Michigan town. The church (though well established) hadn’t had a kids’ program like Awana. When we started Awana, the entire church was supportive and many, many of the adults participated. Because Ken and I were the ones who KNEW the program, being involved was natural – since I was the one who understood things like beanbags and handbook time. So, for me to become director wasn’t a problem. No one resented me stepping into that role.
Now, fast forward to our last church. Not only was the church well established, but Awana was also well established – they had had Awana since Eisenhower was president. And me? A double whammy. Not only was I the new pastor’s wife but I WORKED at Awana and had actually written some of the programs they were using!. Looking around at the church’s Awana program, I saw some areas that were well run and some that were scary!
Oh, how easy for me to go to the leaders and say, “Ummm … you’ve got it all wrong. Do it this way!” But I didn’t say a word. If someone had a question, I answered it. That’s all. I got plugged in to one of the groups and I quietly did my job. I didn’t make a suggestion. I didn’t correct anything. I concentrated on doing what I did well.
Later I moved to the middle school group and worked there 8 years or so. Again, I wasn’t director – just did my job.
So after 11 years, the Sparks directorship opened up and I stepped in. By this time, people knew me and it was fine – but it wouldn’t have been fine if I had walked into the church and said, LOOK, THIS IS THE WAY YOU DO STUFF IN AWANA – even though I knew what I was talking about.
And actually – after many years, I did lead some women’s events (not the overall program, though). When, after several weeks of asking, no one stepped up to plan the Christmas tea, I agreed to do it – along with two other ladies. We became a team and did it for five years. This worked because I had been at the church for awhile and people trusted me. And, because the ladies who “always” did it, had “retired” and they needed someone.
So, my final thought would be – it’s not so much WHAT you do, as to HOW you do it. Is there a perception that you are doing what someone else is capable and willing to do?
Be a servant – that’s biblical (and it keeps you out of trouble).
Next week, I’ll talk about friendship.