But I felt like a small, plain cow. There was the rancher himself, there were cowboys on their stunning horses, gatekeepers, and beautiful, huge cows to whom we looked for leadership...and a whole lot of other small, plain cows like me. We were fed and sheltered and our basic needs were met, but no one noticed me, and when I left, no one came looking for me.
Many, many people are in that same situation, in various sized churches, and it's their own fault. In some ways, my situation was my fault. There are too many people willing to take up space every Sunday morning and never go deeper. That's okay for awhile--we all go through phases of just needing to soak in some teaching, and wanting to blend in with the crowd. But as we grow in our faith it becomes necessary to become an integral part of a church--in whatever area we are gifted and qualified for. But there are certainly people who want to be a part of their church, and are never given the chance.
Maybe they have a past.
Maybe they live in the "wrong" neighborhood.
Maybe they don't have a Christian pedigree.
Maybe they feel that if they ask to get involved they will get overworked, and burned out.
Maybe they are shy.
Maybe they want to be asked.
Maybe they aren't sure where to serve.
Maybe they don't think that what they want to do is good enough.
Maybe they see cliques and don't know how to break in.
Maybe the few people who do most of the work like it that way and don't let anyone else in.
Maybe they have no idea that anyone would think they have something to offer.
Take a few minutes to watch this video
Who are you?
Are you Susan--average, plain, wanting to be someone but not feeling like anyone will ever give you a chance?
Are you the judges--automatically skeptical, but willing to listen and recognizing talent in the end?
Are you the audience--laughing, mocking, judging first impressions?
No one can do everything, but EVERYONE can do something.
What is it you want to do? What are you gifted at? What level of responsibility and leadership have you been preparing yourself for? Very few people should be up front, teaching and leading, but everyone should be pitching in.
In 2007 we left one church as a pastor and his family and walked into another church as strangers. We went to the same welcome meeting that everyone was invited to, and heard the pastor share his vision for the church. And when he asked for helpers to set up chairs, Dan volunteered. He was so good and faithful at setting up chairs, they moved him to setting up classrooms. He was so good and faithful at that, the pastor stopped coming to help and left it in Dan's hands. Dan set up chairs, and made the church run a little smoother.
Are you sitting in church on Sundays? Tell someone how you want to help, and find a way to do it. Start small: offer to fold bulletins, wipe down tables, make coffee, stock bathrooms, learn how to run Power Point, help children's ministry with check-in...there is something you can do.
Are you involved in your church? Look around--is there a young believer you can take along side you and train to do your job?
Are you a leader? Whom are you overlooking? Is it obvious to the church that you appreciate the person setting up chairs as much as the one leading Bible study? Are you doing things yourself because it's just easier that way instead of finding others who would love to do it?
Susan has a unique gift of an incredible singing voice. Now that she has found someone to appreciate her talent, she will take off, I am sure. Her appearance may keep her from the covers of magazines, but it won't keep her from singing for thousands.
YOU also have a unique gift. And God wants you to use it to bless others. Do it.