There are words all over the place, all over the web, about church. Why I go to church. Why I don’t go to church. How church is failing. What is wrong with church. How church hurt me when I was a kid. Why I love Jesus but hate church. And it goes on. And on.
I go to church. (Yes, I know. The church is the people. So technically, you don’t go to church. But I know that you know what I mean.) Every Sunday I get up and do the church thing with my family. Sometimes the service touches me. Sometimes it doesn’t. But going to church isn’t the sum total of my christianity. It’s just a small piece of it.
A church takes maintenance. There are jobs. People have to clean the building and organize the services and teach the classes and wash the dishes after pot luck. Usually, the jobs are the not-so-fun part of doing church. Because if it was fun, someone would already be doing it without it needing to be labelled a “job” and requiring a sign-up list and all that.
I’ve gone to church all of my life, and I’ve usually had several church jobs on my plate. Over the last few years, though, I’ve given much of that up. I don’t feel the need to do church the same as I have in the past. I don’t feel obligated to volunteer for everything that comes along, or to be on every committee, or to say yes to every request.
Still busy, mind you. Still loving Jesus and doing Jesus and sharing my life and serving others. Just… different, you know?
One of the jobs I’ve had at the church I currently attend is Sunday School Organizer. For going on nine years, various other women and I have managed the Sunday School program. Deciding which kids will be in which classes, ordering material, and finding the teachers. Can I just say that this is not a fun job? This is not a job for which people are standing in line, waiting to volunteer. No one is shouting, pick me, pick me!
Over the past year, I have made some noise about wanting to pass this job on. I’d like it if someone else took over the job, but nobody has volunteered. And when I said to the powers that be that I’d really like to be done with this and that I’d help plan the program for the fall and then, you know, quit, I was asked to please keep doing it a while longer.
What’s a girl to do?
Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to. These jobs, these things that have been deemed necessary in order to keep the church running, have to be done. And so I will continue with this job for a while longer. I will think of this job the way I think of housework. Not my favourite thing, but it’s not going to kill me.
Sunday school is my church laundry. I’ll keep doing it for a while, joyfully even. Like the washing and folding of my loved ones’ clothing, I’ll order material and ask for teachers and pray over the children and thank those that serve in this ministry. But, just like I refuse to turn dirty inside-out socks back the right way before washing, or to go into the kids’ rooms and pick the dirty stuff up off the floor, I will have some church-laundry-limits. Well, one limitation, actually.
I’ll take my turn teaching a class, but I won’t fill in for all the times I can’t find a teacher.
This is my plan, anyway.