Over the summer at our Vestry meetings, we began taking a few minutes each month to reflect on a brief article or resource about congregational life.  One that really struck a chord with all of us was an article written by Erin Wathen about volunteering at church.

The point she makes, and you can read her full article here, is that when we volunteer, we do so at places that are important to us—but don’t belong to us.  The church, however, does belong to us.  As she poignantly puts it, “You cannot volunteer at your own church in the same way you can’t babysit your own kid.”

We do a disservice to our faith when we reduce the work we do at church to volunteering, when what we are really engaged in is ministry, service, and ultimately discipleship.  I’ve tried to check myself to keep from using the word “volunteer” at church, and I invite you to  begin trying to change your language too – but also your way of thinking about the way you serve at St. James’.  Together let us remember always that we don’t just belong to the church, it belongs to us – and we do not babysit that which is ours.*

Yours in God’s peace,


 *Total hat tip to the article for that perfect closing line!