When I was a little girl I LOVED to play dress up. One time my mom bought me a curly blonde wig to add to my dress up box. Being blessed with straight-as-a- stick brown hair, this girl was delighted to have curly blonde locks during pretend time. Unfortunately, when I put the wig on, it looked more like a ragamuffin mess on my head. The curly blonde tresses looked more like a disheveled mop. Mom, always ready to redeem an unfortunate situation, thought she would shape up that unruly mess. She plopped that wig on my head and began to trim some bangs. What a great idea!! NOT!! As she began wielding her scissors with flare, suddenly she gasped to see traces of brown among the blonde curls. Uh-oh. When she took the wig off my head, I suddenly had a new, albeit, unusual hair style. “Aw, it’s just hair, it’ll grow back”, was the response. I’m so glad I didn’t have school picture day until I could get those bangs back to normal!
How often does that happen in ministry? It really seemed like a good idea at the time? I remember when I first came on staff at my church. We had about fifty children, birth through 5th grade, and volunteers were scheduled for once a month serving (both services). It seemed like a good idea at the time. The reasons were varied – no one would be overwhelmed, it would be easy to plan time off, people were busy, one would only miss worship once a month, etc.
The longer I have been in children’s ministry the more I am convinced that weekly serving is best. I needed to articulate to the senior staff at my church the reasons for my decision to change from once a month serving to weekly. I prayed and asked the Lord to show me how best to share this with our senior staff. The Lord led me to a story in 2 Samuel. In 2 Samuel 24 there is a story about David sinning against the Lord and wanting to repent. 18-19 “That same day Gad came to David and said, “Go and build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” David did what Gad told him, what God commanded.
20-21 Araunah looked up and saw David and his men coming his way; he met them, bowing deeply, honoring the king and saying, “Why has my master the king come to see me?”
“To buy your threshing floor,” said David, “so I can build an altar to God here and put an end to this disaster.”
22-23 “Oh,” said Araunah, “let my master the king take and sacrifice whatever he wants. Look, here’s an ox for the burnt offering and threshing paddles and ox-yokes for fuel—Araunah gives it all to the king! And may God, your God, act in your favor.”
24-25 But the king said to Araunah, “No. I’ve got to buy it from you for a good price; I’m not going to offer God, my God, sacrifices that are no sacrifice.”
This passage spoke to me. Once a month serving was no sacrifice. Why would we offer to God once a month? Twelve times a year. Why bother?
As I began to institute a weekly serving schedule of attend one/serve one, I realized there were so many blessings. Parents and children felt more comfortable when they saw the same faces each week in their classrooms. Separation anxiety for little ones lessened. Serving teams developed community with each other. No one was ever required to miss worship. Volunteers took ownership of their rooms. Another blessing is that team members really get to know the kids and the kids really get to know them. The relationship is so precious.
The first question people ask when I tell them we would like a weekly commitment is, “What happens if I need to be gone one week?” No problem! We will secure a substitute for you. We understand that folks occasionally are out of town or sick. We have no problem securing a sub for those days. Once this concern is addressed most volunteers are fine with a weekly serve.
Of course, we have an occasional volunteer who cannot commit to weekly service due to work schedules or caring for a family member. We can always work around these issues. Having extra sets of hands in classrooms on any Sunday is always a good thing!
So what might seem to be a good idea sometimes just might leave you with a really bad haircut.