One of the truths of leading or coordinating any ministry that most people truly struggle with (myself included) is that you really, truly cannot do it alone. I *love* working with people… but I hate having to ask folks to do things. And that’s what it comes down to over and over again. Every ministry has a whole range of jobs and tasks and work to do that is sometimes just a one-time ask, some of it is a seasonal-ask, and some ministries need so many regular volunteers the leaders spend almost all of their time asking folks to do things.
And we have to maintain a healthy culture where we respect someone’s “no.” No pressuring people into doing something just so we don’t have to ask anymore! I know, it’s tempting, but it only leads to frustration and grumbling and no one wants to join that.
But, if you hear a lot of “no’s” what does it mean?
How can we keep from feeling discouraged?
I was talking to Margaret Swanson, Director of Youth Ministries, as she has had to do quite a bit of asking this Fall — and worry about whether we would have enough Youth Leaders this year. I asked her if she ever felt bad about asking folks to lead. And you know what?
She said… “No. No, it’s hard to feel stressed because no one has said “yes” and I’m getting worried, but I never feel bad about asking. I love working with our youth! I love doing the work I’m asking that person to do! It’s an amazing opportunity and the fact is, not everyone can do it well, or is the right fit for it. If I’m calling someone and asking them to work in our Youth Program, it’s because I know they have something special, so really, they should feel flattered!”
Margaret, THANK YOU. It’s such a blessing to be reminded that no matter how timid I can feel about making an ask, that what I really need to remember is that we’re not begging for just anyone to do something we’d rather not do, but offering someone the opportunity to experience the joys of being in committed ministry together.
And, if you’re on the other end of the ask, may you be reminded that someone is calling and inviting you into ministry because they believe you’ll be a great fit and truly enjoy whatever you’re being asked to do. It may not be the right fit or the right time, and you can say so… but let’s never deride a job, task or role or feel bad about inviting one another to do this glorious work of church. Because it’s all beautiful work to someone.
Also, our children and youth are AWESOME. Betsy and Margaret are AMAZING, kind, and thoughtful folks who have some fantastic opportunities for you to be in ministry with them. I know you just can’t wait for their call.