Yeah. I should never have volunteered for anything at church. I hope the word no comes to my lips with more efficacy in future but in the meantime I have stopped associating church with awe and wonder and now associate it with work and worry. Plus I’m no good at it… and of course there’s stuff I can’t put in a public place, boorah.
So I am going to back away from the chalice circle, and finish up, as best as I am able, the work for the church year (I am finishing the receipt data entry this morning) and then traverse the moments between now and the AGM and then pretty much stop going to church. I was reading the church folly lane book that Latham wrote yesterday, and for all the people who are infused with energy about church thanks to his workshop, what will happen? All he did was get everybody enthusiastic and the second everybody allows themselves to feel the exhaustion associated with the massive amounts of labour in putting on a 30th birthday show (and I don’t include myself in that because all I’m doing is open church the next day, bringing food, helping set up starting at two next Saturday, and singing a song I composed especially for the occasion which I really should rehearse again for at least half a dozen times between now and then) we will be able to TALK enthusiastically, but to steer the church through a course of transitioning from family to pastoral to program church is impossible with the people and the energy that we have. Being a small church is in the DNA of the church. The second we reach a certain size, there’s always a crisis and people quit. (I am thinking of the RE director debacle we had a few years back and by debacle I’m talking about how we p8ssed all over the covenant we have to be mutually supportive and face our problems with courage and truthfulness, not anything the RE director did).
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. RELIGIOUS EDUCATION is the engine of growth of a church. If you don’t tend it lovingly and house it appropriately, you can’t grow the church, because there’s no place for young adults with children to attach to the church. No young adults, no new members to train in organizational leadership. No relief for the people who run the church; they get to do the same thing over and over and fresh faces and ideas don’t come in. Now Robert Latham says you must have a clear sense of mission and then the church will be vibrant, or else you’re just a social club for aging liberals.
Church didn’t do anything to me. I did it to myself. I wanted to make things better, make it more welcoming for young people. Still, we sing old songs that apart from the lyrics are exactly what you hear in other churches, still, we don’t use technology effectively in our services, still, we have no decent RE space, still, we are renters, still we do not challenge ourselves with service content. We are consistent, we are generous, we are friendly. And we’re old. Average age on the Board is 60. That is terrible. It says everything about our leadership, our energy level, our demographics.
Like I said I’ll keep pledging. And if I am spared, I’m going to start my own church. That’s how you really make money in this modern world. Ask anybody.