Labourers for the harvest

This week has been more difficult than most – finding the right people for particular ministries.

So over three whole mornings we had the splendid Easter Experience in the church building.  Each pupil of Christ Church School took part, in interactive groups of five working their way around five creatively designed displays themed on Holy Week.  I needed to recruit seven suitably qualified church members.  The Lord provided, JIT (as is usually the case).

This coming Sunday I had to find replacements for taking the intercessions and reading the Bible at 10.45.  Again, thank you, Lord. (Rotas only do part of the job).

The Ministry Centre is now absorbing huge numbers of volunteers, not just for Cafe Vista (at least 22 now and growing) and our various ministries (such as Toddlers and Luncheon Club) but maintaining the building and equipment. We aim to appoint a paid co-ordinator (closing date next Thursday –pray for the right person)  but meanwhile we are relying on volunteers to oversee the centre from the church office.

This week we had no one available for Wednesday and Thursday, hard as I tried.  The very first morning since the centre opened we had no one on duty in the office when, of all things, the senior environmental health inspector turns up.  Typical – I should have expected no less!

And that’s only this week!  Next week about 70 church members will be serving at  Splashdown as well as about 12 readers for Good Friday’s 2.00 pm devotional service (any volunteers?)

We are talking here of spinning plates – there are always gaps somewhere in our varied ministries.  Currently we are two distributors down from the 70 strong team which delivers CONSIDER each month.  We need someone to represent Christ Church for Park Praise planning, another to serve on Ormskirk Churches Together.   Each Alpha course is highly labour intensive, with about 65 church members most working behind the scenes in the catering.  Then we are continually short of people to support Xplore (Sunday school), Re:ality (our open youth club).

Looming over the whole of the Easter period is the Annual General meeting – that means a new PCC secretary, deputy warden as well as the usual PCC members and sidespeople.  Ideally a treasurer – although Alan is prepared to do one more year.

I think I must spend more time that David Moyes (Sunderland 0 Everton 2) finding players for the right positions, although it is possible I have a bigger budget.  Maybe the most important part of my job.  And to do so in such a way that no one is asking for a transfer and that each player is fully motivated.

The secret is seeing all this as God’s ministry – it is his church and therefore, his responsibility.   Otherwise the burden would be overwhelming.  And that makes all the difference.  For someone to serve wherever, there has to be a sense of God’s calling, a recognition of his vocation.  Discouragements and setbacks are guaranteed.  To exploit a sense of guilt or self-interest will only ever be a short-term fix and a disaster in the making.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few!”  I know the feeling.  But Jesus’ response?  “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

At the end of the day it is the Holy Spirit who does the work, not just in prompting but in giving the passion, the sense that someone has to do something – before realizing that that someone is you!

And in all things in the Christian life, it is a matter of faith, in trusting God to keep his promises to send the right person.  There is simply no viable alternative.  So keep on praying – and serving.

Now off to Rydal for the first half of the church weekend (organized by Jaime and Fiona Craig) before returning for the latter part of the church music day with the 7.30 pm celebrity concert (organized by Eunice Woof). And Holy Week hasn’t even started!