The pastor sighed as he looked down the list of people: once again there were so few people with the spare time to help.
But what if we flipped the paradigm?
First, I’m not looking for people’s ‘spare time’. They can do what they like with that. I’m looking for their best time, the top time. Just like we encourage people to plan giving so that God gets first place not the loose change, so I want to encourage a mindset where God gets first place in the diary. How do you do that for busy, tired people – holding careers and juggling children? I think everyone should be in the habit of an annual ‘meeting with myself’. Just for one day, someone can take the kids off my hands and I can have a Saturday, planned to be free, to sit and think about how my priorities in theory turn into my diary in reality. Think of like a one-day Quiet Time, or a mini-retreat.
Second, I’m not looking for volunteers. The local charity shop needs volunteers, and so does the Scouts. But church does not run on volunteers. It runs on members. And I don’t mean members like member of a golf club – I mean members of a body, who have their mutual relationships and tasks as their top priority in life. When Jesus saved us , it wasn’t to improve our golf swing, or work a four-hout work week so we can goof off in the sun. We’re saved to serve.
(Of course our families and jobs have value, and we can all think of careers like medicine which have extreme value. But nothing has a higher claim on us than the claim of Christ. And we all need down time – but we’re living in a culture that has made leisure into a right and an idol)
The purpose of a rota is not to get people to sign up to a few, hard-to recruit tasks. It is to get as many people as possible involved in as much ministry as possible. Where the business brains would say we need to streamline, reduce committees and keep the structure minimal, I want to do exactly the opposite: have loads of stuff going on in order to maximise the chances that everyone will find something they can do to serve.
Invent more rotas in order to drive involvement!