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Dear Mel Vol22

*Dear Mel is an old column. No longer accepting questions for submission.

Dear Mel:
If Jesus told us that the most important thing to do is to Love God and Love Others why do our churches blow that off?  How do we love others? has to be through serving them so why are we accepting the 80/20 rule at church, still 80% of the service being done by 20% of the congregation.  Why is sitting in a pew every Sunday and doing nothing else resembling to Jesus acceptable to our churches?  We are quick to act on sins of failing to tithe, or show up at service or drinking alcohol or homosexuality but why do we let this greatest commandment slide?
~ Frustrated with 80/20 ~

Dear Frustrated with 80/20:
As much as I know we would all like to have everyone participating, we can’t force folks to help at church. I know that is a frustration, it seems it’s always the same people doing all the work. I’ve come to realize it’s not our job to worry about what others are doing or not doing when it involves works.We never really know what’s going on in someone else’s life and sometimes, we don’t know if they are doing things to love on others outside of the church body.

We had a pastor once tell a story about how he had a hard rule that you could not become a deacon at his church unless you were tithing. He went on to tell how he found himself frustrated with the youth pastor who wasn’t tithing. Come to find out, the youth pastor was in fact tithing but he was doing so with cash and not claiming it on an envelope because he wanted to give freely, without anyone he worked with knowing how much he was giving, etc. It was between him and God.

One thing we can do to encourage others to help, is to ask. Pray for direction and open hearts before you ask. If they say no, you can pray that if God wants them to help, He will change their heart. If they don’t change their minds, trust that God knows what He’s doing and let it go.

I don’t think we should ever try to force someone into doing something they really don’t want to do. My husband and I have seen this so many times, he more than I have been on the receiving end of a well meaning friend who thinks we need to be pushed beyond our comfort zone or our own gifts and desires. If someone tells you they do not want to say teach, we have to respect that. When I tell my friend who runs children’s ministries that I do not want to teach in children’s church, I am thankful she respects it. I am more than not comfortable with it and I am easily overwhelmed by noise and activity, so for me, it would be too much. Some folks have a natural gift with kids, I’m not one of them (though babies and toddlers I can do).

There are times we just have to ask for help. After events I had planned at church, I always had one of the men make an announcement for help cleaning up before people started leaving. In a flash folks started cleaning and putting away.

All that to say, let’s not assume that others aren’t out there working somewhere. If you know someone well enough, you might be able to ask them casually how the Lord’s working in their lives. You might be surprised!



2 Comments

  1. Hi Mel – Excellent article. One thing I might add is that there are also people who have been burned out or hurt by the church. Sometimes all they can do is just sit in the pew. But it is entirely possible that they are out reflecting Christ to the world in many other ways. So it’s hard to know about a person simply by what we see on Sunday mornings.

    Thanks again – great post!

    Lisa Are Wulf

    • Excellent point! That is sort of where I am with our new church. It’s not that I don’t want to help but I am burned out and have been burned. Also, I am enjoying not being completely in the know with the behind the scenes stuff and drama. But I am doing things elsewhere 🙂

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