You would not have to speak with many servants within the Christian church to find a member dissatisfied with the weight their service has placed upon their shoulders. Churches are notorious for taking everything a volunteer has to offer, wringing them dry, and then scrambling to find an equally gullible replacement when the previous servant could do no more. There isn’t anything malicious, per se, about this behaviour from the churches in question. Rather, it is simply the nature of the work: when one relies on volunteers, one often has a static or growing body of work with a small and potentially diminishing work force. Over time the workers the church has are required to carry a heavier burden than they are capable of.
When we were investigating a new church (Vineyard, by the way, which we have since joined), I was curious how they treated their volunteers. When people volunteer to help lead worship, or to work in the nursery, or to clean up, are they alone in their endeavour and subsequently worked to death? To find this out before we committed ourselves, I volunteered to cook for a Church Painting, where the outside of the building was being redone, to see how people treated and reacted to me.
I think this sort of introduction to a group is the most telling because it really lets one take a look at how they act. When a new person visits a church, it is easy to target them, to introduce oneself to them, and to invite them to small groups and social events. It is easy to make them feel the center of attention and valued. But when someone places themselves in the roll of a servant, in a corner or off to the side, how will the members treat them? Will they be taken for granted, or will they continue to be valued, included, and appreciated?
Thankfully I was able to find this out before we joined, and the results were quite pleasant. Everyone was complimentary of my cooking, people came by to see how I was and chat while I was at the grill, and other people volunteered to help set up, clean, and tear down the cooking area to my own service was equitable (if not minimal). The Vineyard has a strong and large group of servants, so one gets the sense they are serving alongside the church body, rather than simply for its sake. By way of another example, the worship team cycles regularly so no one person has to do it all the time, and there’s no pressure to always “be on.” Enough people volunteer that everyone gets a decent break.
Next time you want to find out how people will really treat you, serve them. You never know how someone will truly act towards you until they are placed in a position of power over you, and it is better to learn such a lesson before one commits.
Liz Strauss at Successful Blog is hosting a Blog Show on her site today. SilverPen Publishing will be one of the many blogs shown there, so if you have come to my site via that show, thanks and welcome! If you’re a regular reader, you should head over to the Blog-to Show on Liz’s blog and maybe you’ll find some new and exciting blogs to add to your reader 🙂
SilverPen Publishing is a website focused on developmental literary work and self-publishing with the goal of writing for the sake of writing, rather than to make money. It’s easy, when working with publishing companies, to get caught up in the draft cycle: trying to meet deadlines, sending manuscripts out to multiple publishers in the hope that someone will buy it, and writing the next one quickly so you can get another paycheck. As much as I would like to be a full-time author, the same principles that lead me to embrace open source software have led me to self-publishing and giving away my work for free.
Therefore, you will find all of my writing as it is penned on this website. Each specific project has its own blog, and the rest (usually personal updates or the occasional technology article) go on the front page. As books are completed, they will be self-published (likely through lulu.com) and available both for purchase and free download on this website.
Our primary focuses are fantasy fiction, poetry, and we’re currently working on a book about “Right Relationships in Christ” (that’s the title I’m leaning towards for the final book, which won’t come together for another two years probably). I’ve got at least one more project (a theological book of essays geared towards college students) to start in the near future, and I’m hoping to bring one or two more authors on board with their own projects sometime soon.
Nevertheless, it seems to be my technological articles that get the most traffic, particularly Ubuntu 8.04 on the Asus EEE PC, which is my most active article. I’m discussing licensing issues with a company right now for a series of articles I’ll be writing about wikis, and if the company is non-exclusive with their licensing, those will start going live next week. Otherwise, I suppose I’ll just have to link to them from here.
I had tried to avoid writing tech articles for a long time–I deal with computers all day long, so it’s nice to get away once in a while!–but technology is something of a passion for me and a subject about which I am knowledgeable. Until I start writing a book on some technological subject, though, such articles won’t have their own blog. (I’ve considered a couple of book ideas, but I don’t feel I have the experience needed to write a full book on any particular technology subject.)
Again, thank you for dropping by today, and I hope you’ll stay a while and browse around. For more information about this website, click on the About tab at the top of this page, and if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this entry or contact me.