No. No. No. No. Maybe later. No. Let me pray about it and get back to you (they don’t usually and if so, the answer is mostly no). No. No. No. No. and No.
I haven’t developed a stuttering problem with my computer keyboard, I’m just listing typical responses this year to our nominating committee who’s been tasked with the responsibility to ask people to serve here at Calvary in various ministry responsibilities. This is an unprecedented response from God’s people in being unwilling to serve in ministry this year. Many have said yes and have taken on more than they are already doing because they don’t want to see ministry hindered, but sadly, the majority are saying no to requests to serve the Lord Jesus at Calvary. In my devotions the other morning, I read God’s instructions to Jeremiah the prophet to go to a potter’s house and observe what happened. God demonstrated to Jeremiah the children of Israel were like clay in the potter’s hand, he molded the clay from a “marred vessel into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make” (Jer.18:4). In talking with the Lord about this dire situation of people saying no to requests to serve, I realized the problem is that people are not willing to be molded the way God intends. Later in chapter 19, Jeremiah is told to go purchase a flask from the potter and take it out and break it in the presence of the leaders as a sign that God is going to break the children of Israel for their idolatry and disobedience. In our case, I believe we’ve made an idol out of convenience. If it is not convenient to serve, we say no. If it requires commitment and faithfulness, we say no. If it will interfere with our leisure, pleasure our hobbies or whatever else we can imagine, we say no.
Now I realize that everyone believes they have a good reason for saying no and maybe that’s true. There is an epidemic of people not being willing to serve and we are facing some serious problems in our various ministries if people don’t say yes to serving. Last year, we had an average of 85 children in our AWANA ministry, but as of today, we still have no AWANA commander and fewer workers. We could be faced with the very real possibility we’d have to say “No” to some kids and limit our ministry to a certain number of children. How do I pick which kids will not be allowed to come? As of this writing, we do not have a chairman for our food services committee, could we be forced to say: “Calvary will no longer provide any food for anyone and the kitchen is now closed for lack of leadership.” We have no preschool director who can organize our preschool and extended care workers. Would we be forced to say “All preschoolers must attend worship with their parents.” What message would this send to young families we’re trying to reach? While it is true, we have some dedicated servants but many of these folks have been doing multiple jobs for so long, they are flat exhausted. I understand that in a real & tangible way from my experiences in church life.
We are living in critical days in our society, culture and church life. I believe the Lord’s return is soon, but He is delaying so everyone has an opportunity to hear the gospel and be discipled. The Great Commission mandate of making disciples does not afford the luxury of not serving the Lord Jesus, our Commander in Chief. Last year in Harford County, 3012 babies were born and 1727 people died. How will we reach those children if we limit our ministries to young families and do not care for their children? Nearly 5 people step into eternity in our county every day and the reality is, most of those people will be in Hell forever. How can we rest and be at ease when the Potter is trying to mold us into servants and soldiers to reach these people? So are you moldable? If God wants to make you a children’s worker, will you be moldable? If God wants you to be a kitchen servant, to feed someone who comes to Wednesday worship and then gives their life to Christ, is that okay? If you don’t have a place of ministry, when will you say yes? A disciple of Jesus Christ must be a servant, that’s God’s plan, that’s God’s purpose for you. Souls are hanging in the balance while you pray about it. God is molding me and shaping me into being a pastor, something I did not choose on my own. What about you? What has the Potter chosen for you? Praying in my little corner for laborers for the harvest…