Update to Laborers Are Few

A lot has changed for my family since November 2014.

If you don’t know my work prior to today, I once held the anonymous account “Church Husher,” a fun spin on ushers in church. In November, I wrote an article called Laborers Are Few(/). Theology Mix posted it and my family, and another wonderful family, packed our bags and headed to the Great Smoky Mountains. None of us knew that once we got there, the Lord would have us all searching him for direction.

Fast forward to this month, the wonderful admins of Theology Mix have asked me to give an update from this article. Before I do, allow me to refresh your memory…

Church Husher on November 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm

As my family and I sit in the nursery, a month has gone by since my wife and I have actually gotten to attend a service; listening to babies cry, preschoolers fighting over the same toy they play with each week, students not listening to the lesson, all the while I can hear a worship service going on that sounds beautiful.

Yet again, I sit in a seat too small for me, holding a child that is making my own child jealous for me. My wife has had a volunteer claim they “need” to be in the worship service, so I selflessly volunteer to help my wife because she should not have to do this alone.

Where are all the volunteers? Who are all these people sitting in the pew? Why does
it seem that only the same two families are doing the ministry behind the ministry?

This clearly is not a new question: “Where are the laborers?” Either the God of the harvest has not sent us laborers or the laborers are not listening to the God of the harvest.

If you have made it this far, you can see we were headed for a pretty rough time. That same volunteer who claimed they needed to be in service, never came back. Volunteers started dropping by the week; our marriage was strong, but our spirits were getting weaker. Yes, you can say it is our responsibility to feed ourselves spiritually, but even Jesus Christ had to get away to be ministered to.

Something wasn’t right, we knew this had to change. I was still an usher and was being pulled from the ministry. She was the director, but was doing this and more. I eventually just took a break from it and repeatedly told them I wouldn’t be helping them until more volunteers came to the nursery. We got bitter toward church, we got angry—we eventually just quit caring about any of it.

A lot of people think being in a large church it means there will be more workers, but I am here to say that it is the furthest thing from the truth. Eventually in December, some of you may remember, I quit the anonymous world and simply disappeared for months. Occasionally, I sent an article to be posted, but you didn’t hear from me on twitter.

My beautiful wife was getting worn out; keep in mind this struggle had been happening from November 2014 to March 2015. That’s a long time for a person doing ministry to not be ministered to. Add that to being a mother, a wife, a student—it was taking a toll on her, and I helped her step away. I eventually started helping the usher team again, but now I am quick to say NO, because we are in a different season in life.

I want you to know, it’s okay to step away. God is not going to strike you dead because you had to step away from ministry. He never intends for you to become burnt out and bitter towards his church. He also does not intend on you staying in the same position all your life. A title is simply just a title, you can still minister to the needs of others without a title. Take full responsibility for the health of your soul. Nobody else is responsible for your health. You are. Pray, read your Bible, seek life giving friendships, replenish your energy, eat right, work out, love deeply. These things nourish your soul. If you don’t do them, nobody will.

Our identity is not drawn from the tasks we accomplish, but from our relationship with Jesus. We do the work he calls us to, and we do it with all our hearts—but we do not go beyond the limits he has set. We accept help from others because God has called us to community. We accept his rest because it is the gracious gift of a loving and wise Father. God is more interested in our relationship with him than he is in our work (Hosea 6:6). There is nothing spiritual about “burning out for Jesus.”

Aaron Jeffries
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