I have joined the Junior League of Richmond. It is hard to move to a totally new place where you don’t know anybody when you are a grown up (even though Lorelai Gilmore once said, “You know the one thing real grownups don’t do..call themselves grownups.”) I’ve tried a lot of different avenues to meet new friends and so joining a group of women devoted to volunteering, leadership development and empowerment of women just seemed like a natural fit.
One requirement/opportunity is participation in ongoing leadership development. This year the group offered “board training,” teaching members how to serve on the boards of other non-profit organizations successfully. The coordinator described this program by saying, “We want to equip you to serve in the community. That is our way of giving back and making a difference. We want to equip you to take the name of Junior League out to others.”
“We want to equip you to take the name of Junior League out to others…..”
When she said it, I let out one of those ministerial sounds…you know that gutteral agreement sound when something hits home or really clicks….
because church, this is what we should be doing….
We should be equipping our folks to go out and serve as leaders in the community. We should want to equip people to take the name of Christ out to others.
We should bless their going. We should know do everything we can to make a difference in the way they carry the name of Christ into the world. We should do everything we can to empower and honor their going, commission it even.
So often, we get frustrated when individuals are serving elsewhere. They just “don’t love Jesus enough” or “have their priorities straight” if they are not in church every time the doors are open. “They don’t know how powerful it can be.”
We plan more and more events inside our walls and wonder why the number of leaders are diminishing.
I heard a pastor once tell about an outreach event their church had done for families in the neighborhoods around the church, the people who were not actually coming to the church every week already and in fact did not look much like the people who did. As a part of the event, they were offering people tours of the church.
One little girl looked at the pastor with wide eyes and said with an incredulous voice, “You mean we can go inside. I didn’t think I was allowed to go inside.”
We spend so much trying to make ourselves safe and of the world but not in the world that we are never actually ever in the world.
The truth is that a lot of young people find a lot of good in the world and when we close ourselves off to the world, we close ourselves off from them.
How can we equip our children and teens to be the presence of Christ in their worlds…in their classrooms, with their teachers, on the bus, on the sports team? How do we equip our adults to serve on the boards of other organizations, bringing Christ into all of the places of the world?
How do we change the church from being a place of protection to a leadership training ground for the world?