Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just a Little Bit More

How much involvement in programs and services is enough to feel good about ourselves? The performance voice that is often found in religious circles would say, just a little bit more.

Here’s a snapshot of my wife and I in our younger years. We were 23 at the time. We had two children ages 3, 2. I was working at General Motors and I was purposely not working on Sunday in order to honor the Sabbath.

7:00 am get up to get ready for church
8:00 am arrive at church for prayer
8:30 am get on bus to pick up kids for bus ministry. I was the bus driver and Terry was the bus captain.
9:15 am get back to church for Sunday school. Terry was a teacher and I went to adult class.
11:00 am Church service with Terry sometimes working in Children’s church.
12:10 pm Take the bus kids back home after a wonderful morning
1: 30 pm Go home, make lunch and then nap time for everyone
5:00 pm Get ready for evening church
6:00 pm Get to church for pre-service prayer
7:00 pm Church service that went to 9:00 pm sometimes later
We were sometimes invited out to somebody’s home for fellowship after the service.

Monday: 6:30 - 8:30 pm Once a month I went to Men’s Fellowship which was a church service with just men. Terry also went to Women’s Ministry once a month.

Tuesday: 6:30 - 9:00 pm I was a leader in Christian Service Brigade. (similar to boy scouts)

Wednesday: 6:30 - 9:00 Bible study and prayer

Thursday: 6:30 - 9:00 pm Terry was a leader with a girl’s group at church.

Friday: 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm Youth service. Both of us were volunteer leaders at a youth service.

Saturday: 8:00 am arrive at church for breakfast

9:00 - noon Bus ministry (we did house to house to visitation and recruitment) If I was working Terry went with the kids by herself.

We did everything we could to be active in church. Our church was growing quickly. We had gone from 75 to almost 200 from the time of our salvation 3 years earlier. It was exciting. We were tithing faithfully spending about 25 hours a week with church activities. We couldn’t get enough.

Looking back we see were very busy, surrounded by people, but had no close friends and definitely no older person taking an interest in our lives.

When we were 27, as a result of a pastoral change and some deep hurts that had happened to us, we left that church. The new pastor came by with some small, farewell gift to thank us for our involvement. We told him to keep his gift. He was surprised by our ingratitude.

At least half of the people that were leading programs with us at the time are now divorced.

Terry and I went to another church and got involved again. We were much wiser and only put about 15 hours per week into the church. We still developed no close friends and no one invested in our lives outside of seeing them at church.

When I was 29 I did have a mature man who was 55 and had been in church all his life, ask me out for a coffee. He had seen one of our kids playing with a few cards at Wednesday night Bible study and was very concerned for us.

I loved all of this so much that at the age of 30, I quit my job at GM to go to Bible school for 4 years to become a pastor.

I truly wanted to become like my first pastor. He was and is a wonderful man. Any losses we felt at church wasn't because the programs weren't great, it was the people (including us) that were the problem.

1 comment:

Jamie A. Grant said...

Ah, good times, those were. I remember that bus ministry very fondly...