Sunday, January 18, 2009

Not a funny post...

If you are not a church goer, this post will mean nothing to you, so you might want to come back tomorrow. I also need to tell you my husband and I went out for these huge $10.99 margaritas tonight, so my typing is a little wonky. Bear with me. But something happened today and I need to get it out.

Today was a normal Sunday. I got to church, did my preschool Sunday school class, ran to choir practice, went to church, left in the middle to help with the children's church and then left children's church early to go and set up food for the coffee/cookie time after the service. Ideally a family signs up every week to offer food to the church members each week, but as is often the case, no one had signed up for this week and one of our lifers was having a birthday, so Hubby asked me to take care of it.

I have had too much tequila to figure out how to put this into this post, but I need to let you know that Hubby, who has NO secretary or office help, really messed up the bulletin for the church service this week. Remember that...I'll come back to it.

Hubby had set the coffee up to brew before he went in to the service and I was setting the food out when church let out early. I was caught in the midst of putting the food out when congregants started coming into the Fellowship Hall. They swooped down on the food and I could barely get the replacement food on the table when people started fussing at me that there was no coffee. Where was the coffee? What was this? Just cookie? Where the HELL was the coffee? No one could be bothered to say thank you for spending our own hard-earned money on coffee/cookie. No one could be bothered to offer to help me put stuff out. They just complained that there was no coffee.

But you see, Hubby had MADE coffee, the coffee maker malfunctioned, but nobody could be bothered to look at it. And nobody could be bothered to take my place and put plates of goodies out so I could look at it. All they could do was complain. And there I was with a knife in my hand taking the heat. And let me tell you, I was pissed.

So afterwards I called the Assassin, a fellow church member who normally understands me and supports me...and she blew me off. I was stunned. I was devastated. I was saddened ( I can't type saddened). But I realize she sees the writing on the wall.

Something has gone dreadfully wrong at our church. It started happening way before we came to our church. The church has a long history of being hard on pastors and being in decline and today was a good example of why. Today was a prime example of all of these people complaining about something that wasn't done, but not lifting a finger to get it done. And the was like a drain pan on an air-conditioner. The bulletin is something that is normally done by a secretary or a volunteer. But Hubby has no secretary and no one has volunteered to help. This week I needed Hubby to cut short his hours to watch E because I had meetings and open-houses at work. Something had to give and he rushed through the bulletins and there were a lot of mistakes. Drips, like in a drain pan, but there is no drain pan to catch them in this case.

There are a very few and select group of people (like the Assassin) who are working really hard...trying to make the church prosper...but are they doing it because they like my Hubby and me, and they want to see us stay? They are spending all of their energy trying to make the church look like it is alive, when a lot of other church members are just attending on Sunday and not lifting a finger to help. Somewhere along the line, I feel as if Hubby and I have BECOME the church. And that's not right.

And I think it might be time for us to set them free.


Anonymous said...

Well it doesn't sound like there is much fellowship or community spirit in your church members.

Leaving is an option.

Maybe you (and hubby) need to be firm with them. Kind of like little children that need direction.

Tell them that if there is not a volunteer for coffee/cookies, there will be no coffee or cookies that week. Or say that all able bodied members have to take a turn and conscript them, put them on a schedule.

The same with the bulletin.

When my mother was active with her church, it was a small group of ladies that did the majority of the work. But you don't even have that kind of help.

Green said...

Well. I'm not a churchy girl what with being jewish and all, but I did used to go to temple and we did used to have the service on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, both of which were followed by food, coffee, wine, etc. And people HELPED! I think there was a sisterhood committee, a brotherhood committee, plus, my own mother (who was not on the sisterhood committee) would randomly send me into the temple's kitchen to ask if they needed help. And I was never the only kid wandering in to offer help.

At a certain point during each service, the rabbi would make temple announcements. Including if one of the committees needed help, if something was being organized, etc. So it'd sound like, "The red cross will be here on Sunday, March 26th for a blood drive if you'd like to donate. If you'd like to volunteer to hand out orange juice and cookies, please see Barbara Schwartzsteingoldbergman."

I say, tell your husband to ASK for help, ASK for volunteers.

Living in Muddy Waters said...

He has asked for help so many times he sounds like a broken record. We have sent around sign up sheets, tried to organize commitees. And yet, when these things fall away, it is my husband who gets the blame.

The church has been put on the alert that if something doesn't change, SOMETHING IS GOING TO CHANGE. But nothing seems to motivate anyone to do anything, except the small group of people who try so hard. They just take on more and more responsibility.

Wide Lawns said...

This sounds EXACTLY like the situation in my grandfather's temple. Only there, the problems are so bad that they have no new members and the congregation is now ancient and all dying off. In a few years there will be no temple left because of the way they all acted.

On the other hand, my grandmother's church in Millpond is absolutely thriving. There is so much new membership that they had to add three more services at different times and in different parts of the church because now everyone won't fit in the sanctuary. They are building a new building to accomodate it. There is a great energy there. I love going there when I go visit and it might be interesting to study that church and figure out what they're doing right. If you email me at I can give you the church's real name and maybe you can listen to their podcasts or look at their website. If you're the same religion, which I sense that you might be (or at least close) maybe you can contact someone there for advice.

FreeDragon said...

I'm a go-get-it-done type of person and when I can't do it all I assign jobs. I rarely ask. So I would just make a list of people who needed to bring coffee/cookies and tell them who was bring what both before and after the sermon. If that person bailed on me but still had the nerve to show their face in church I'd send them to the store Sunday morning. And then I would seriously hire/appoint a secretary. I have never heard of a church without a secretary. I agree with another poster, they sound like children.

Purple Hydrangea said...

I think you and my best friend (also a "Pastor's Wife" and also a pre-school teacher) are the same person!! she teachs autistic pre-schooler's... so much of what you say sounds like it could be from her ... I am new to following your blog and enjoy reading it, but get frustrated with your situations, both church and work and I want to come and help you... wish I could... but I can offer you prayers, so I will at least help that way

Anonymous said...

I would be happy to proof your weekly bulletin via email and send back on a timely basis. My husband's father was a pastor and we understand the drill. I am a bookkeeper by trade but my father was an English teacher so I am a good speller, etc.
Let me know! I will send you my email address if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

My mom is an elder in her church (whatever that means) and she faces the same problems. This year, she quit the Xmas pageant and live nativity because no one else helped, only pointed out where it could be better. So she resigned herself to letting the church do it without her and it was pretty awful and unorganized. She's just about ready to bail on this church despite liking the pastor very much because his wife and his adult daughter are negative and opinionated and, at times, hateful and judgmental. They act more like your congregants and much less like you! The difference is she gets to tell her fellow congregants just what she thinks and you have to smile through the abuse. Things you didn't sign up for.

It seems lots of things are changing by you. Thinking of you...

/ dw

Jeannie said...

I thought our church sucked.

On the upside - they do show up for coffee.

Perhaps this is an issue that your husband could delicately touch on in a sermon. That the church is the congregation of God's people helping and supporting eachother and everyone has to do their part for it to work.

Furthermore, I would refuse to be the default coffee lady to emphasize that it is NOT your responsibility any more than anyone else's. (Besides - don't they see you as doing nothing anyway?) Your husband could announce at the beginning of the service that no one signed up to make the coffee, is there someone willing to go and get it ready? If there are no cookies, well too bad. No one signed up. Make them understand that they are responsible for the well-being of the congregation.

LegalMist said...

Maybe the church bulletin needs to say something like, "We need volunteers to help put out the treats and coffee after services next week. If no one volunteers, there will be no treats and coffee. Please contact ____ if you would like to volunteer."

Anonymous said...

For the record, Assassin says she did not blow you off, SHE WAS IN TARGET. Next time, even in a public place, she will yell "I can't believe those f@#$*n b*&%#s, I'll kick their a$$#s!" How's that?