This is a repost of an article that was formerly at Kidmin1124. Since Kidmin1124 is no longer an active site, Wayne (the site manager) has encouraged us to move our contributions to our own site. This was originally published near Halloween time, thus the pumpkin reference! 🙂
Photo Credit: Flickr by deeplifequotes
I’ve often struggled with my position at church. As one of the first paid positions to emerge, I’ve had trouble justifying both to others and myself why I should be paid for things other people do voluntarily. As such, I often overcompensate – going above and beyond my assigned hours each week (sometimes way above). I used to do all the teaching, all the song leading, all the scheduling, and more. I was feeling burnt out and my volunteers were checking out. They weren’t really doing anything significant, so why should they be engaged? However, whenever I would ask a volunteer to do something, I would feel pangs of guilt and shame. Shouldn’t I, the paid worker, be getting all this done?
My wise father gave me this advice: He explained paid staff has the primary job of rallying and organizing the volunteers. “You are the catalyst, the driving force, and the director”, he said. Makes sense, but I still have trouble letting go. It might have to do with my control-freak tendencies. Or perhaps it’s this weird mix of pride and guilt that keeps me trying prove my worth as a staffer instead of turning to volunteers for help.
A few weeks ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about life. Probably due in part to my ill-timed painting adventure. Whatever the reason, I ended up handing over the entire night (except singing) to my volunteers. One volunteer to do the Peter Pumpkin lesson and another to read A Pumpkin Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. I’ll admit, I was nervous. I’m ashamed to say I studied the entire lesson “just in case” my volunteer forgot, bailed, or “needed help”. I studied in vain.
Not only did Diane (my volunteer) nail the lesson, the kids were completely engaged. More than I’ve seen in a long time. As Jen (another volunteer) began to read the poem and Diane began cutting, kids crowded around the table for a closer look. She talked about God cleaning the sin our of lives and kids dug into the pumpkin pulp with disgust, gaining a new understanding of how sin looks and feels to God. She interacted, she drew them in, she applied the lesson to their lives. She made me sorry I ever doubted her. It was a powerful lesson and I wasn’t involved one bit. It felt good. It felt free.
Afterward, as Diane cleaned up the pumpkin remains, I ran around the gym and played with the kids, something I had not done in a long time. I usually am running around tying up loose ends or something equally “important”. It seems ironic, doesn’t it, how we sometimes neglect the children while we’re busy doing Children’s Ministry? This night was a real eye-opener for me. Getting volunteers truly involved is rewarding for everyone, and something I’ll be doing a lot of more of.