WORKING IN THE CHURCH: WHOSE JOB IS IT?

Responsibility. A big word. Lots of letters…lots of syllables…lots of meaning.

I had to return some leftover VBS items to LifeWay this past weekend. It was a long process as the person waiting on me was a trainee and didn’t think she was allowed to do what her manager was telling her to do. Finally her manager said, “Do it (this way). It’s ok. I’m telling you to do it. I’m responsible for this decision, not you, and I’ll take full responsibility for it.”

I responded to the manager, “Wow. That’s awesome. Very few people are willing to take responsibility for their actions any more. Good for you! I’m impressed.”

I was just listening to Joy FM as I drove home from dropping the kids off at theater camp and heard a song that for some reason reminded me of that conversation and most particularly of the word responsibility.

I am wondering who is responsible for keeping our church members in church. I am wondering who is responsible for discipiling new converts. I am wondering who is responsible for insuring that Christians are continually growing not just sitting stagnant. I am wondering…just WHO is responsible.

Ok, so I know some of you reading this are chomping at the bit to start answering those questions, quoting scripture, discussing theology, doctrine, organizational patterns of the church, and just giving me your own opinions… 😉

I’ve recently heard a song that I’ve fallen in like with. “Hold Us Together” by Matt Maher has a phrase that I’ve been pondering for a few days. “And I’ll be my brother’s keeper…”. What does that phrase mean?

I googled it. Didn’t get a good answer. Keep thinking back to the lyrics, “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.” Pondering, wondering, researching….my brother’s keeper…responsibility…accountability… WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY?!?!

I know a while back each family in our church was assigned a deacon. I suppose it was the deacon’s job to keep up with us…contact us…see to our spiritual needs…invest in our lives… What an overwhelming job for a poor deacon!

I’ve been thinking about a family one of our churches was at risk of losing several years ago. They left. Went out the door. Gone. I called them. Repeatedly. They didn’t answer. Didn’t return my calls. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, let it go. So I turned on my computer and typed. What was in my heart. What was in scripture. What I felt God had burdened my heart to say. I printed that love letter and mailed it.

I came home from church one day to a message on my machine from the individual wanting to talk to me. I tried calling back, got no one. Turned out they got a hold of a deacon’s wife who sat and talked to them. That family is an integral part of that church to this day. But it might not have happened that way if several individuals hadn’t done the things God was asking them to do.

WHOSE JOB IS IT????

Why was it my job to reach out in that situation? Why did I listen…that time? Why have I not responded the same way to other situations? Is it MY responsibility?

I’m thinking today…what if you were assigned a new individual in your church? John Doe attended your Sunday class yesterday for the first time. Your teacher comes to you after class, “I’d like you to be responsible for John, to be your brother’s keeper.”

Wow.

Do you accept the challenge? Do you track John through the sanctuary? Find out how to contact him? Phone number, address, e-mail address? Do you mail a card to him Monday? Call him Tuesday evening to talk about your church’s Wednesday night service? Meet him for a soda, coffee, or pick-up game of basketball on Friday or Saturday? Work to get to know John and introduce him to your church family?

Or do you nod yes to your teacher, slink into the same pew you’ve been holding down for the past 10 years, and pray that God will keep bringing John back to church. Monday night as you’re falling asleep think of John and pray that God will meet his needs. Wednesday night notice John isn’t at the Bible Study and feel disappointed that he didn’t show up. When John doesn’t appear on Sunday do you write John off as not interested or committed enough for the long haul?

Ouch. That hurts. I’ve done the first scenario…once. I live the second scenario…daily.

WHOSE JOB IS IT?