A wanted poster is needed at the church
November 24, 2008 · Updated 6:06 PM
The start of a new year is a time to reevaluate personal goals. For members of a faith community, it means determining what percentage the church or synagogue will receive in the way of regular contributions. For pastors and rabbis the bottom line isn’t always the bottom line. As important as one’s financial gift may be, the contribution of time and involvement is a close second. It is the job of me and my colleagues to motivate members of our congregations to find meaningful ways to volunteer.
At our church staff meeting sometime back, the director of children’s ministry lamented at how many volunteers were still needed to staff programs on the drawing board. Her voice wasn’t the only one crying in the wilderness of congregational recruitment. The youth pastor chimed in and so did the coordinator of worship ministries. We all agreed that too many of our families involve their children (and themselves) in commitments that lack a spiritual payoff. I left the meeting contemplating the problem and determined to find an effective way to address it.
The following poem was the result of my creative brooding.to be used in our church as a way of subtly calling attention to misplaced priorities in over committed lives. We ran it off on posters made to look like the “Wanted” signs in the old west and posted them around the church.
I saw a wanted poster at the church the other day.
It left me with a feeling that just wouldn’t go away.
It listed opportunities for tithing of my time,
like helping toddlers learn to pray through finger plays and rhymes.
Like mentoring some teenagers or opening my home
or taking widows out to eat so they won’t dine alone.
Like teaching in the Sunday school or singing in the choir,
or going on a missions trip with hammers, nails, and pliers.
The poster made me contemplate the ways I fill my week.
It caused me to review in prayer the schedule I keep.
Like driving kids to soccer, then to swim team or ballet,
to ball games every weekend and practice everyday.
By working with the PTA and helping at the club,
I have no time to serve at church and that is... well... the rub.
Although I am quite busy now, I really must confess.
I’m not convinced that what I do is what God wants to bless.
I kind of think He wants me to reduce my frantic pace,
so I can volunteer at church and be a means of grace.
Although “wanted posters” are typically seen in post offices, churches would do well to tack them up in well-trafficked hallways. No the kind that call attention to fugitives on the run, but those who are imprisoned by frantic lifestyles that lack fulfillment.
Pastor Greg Asimakoupoulos is the head of the Mercer Island Covenant Church and a regular contributor to the Reporter.