Leading Worship Team Volunteers: There Are Wasps In Your Church & Team

jeremy_balsongameIsn’t Sunday and interesting way to spend 1/7 of your life? Where else can you feel like it should still be Saturday but just plain isn’t? And where else can you find the people and fellow volunteers you love all worshipping Jesus at church? Certainly not Tuesday.

Have you seen the new ASIMO; that little miracle-powered self-aware robot by Honda that has arms, legs, eyes…? It can smile, wave, walk up and down stairs and recognize over 6 million objects (including the Toyota Prius). If you walk holding its little hand it will do so without crushing all the little bones in yours because of how clever it is. It will match your speed and even changes in direction. Honda is very tight-lipped about its ASIMO project but after 2 decades, 40 machines, and Lord knows how many millions (or billion) dollars spent, they are finally bringing mankind closer to the day when Terminators and the Borg will kill us all and take our place of dominance on Earth. Hollywood’s got the picture though. How many movies can you count that feature a set of cybernetic versions of wasps working systematically trying to enslave or subdue the human race? The number is quite a few.

Ants are scavengers, taking their food from dying things. Bees create honey and help pollinate flowers. What do wasps do? So far as I can tell, nothing. Nature has a habit of disposing of useless creatures like the dodo bird that couldn’t fly and was too slow to outrun predators. Then there are the dinosaurs, which we all know got too big for their own good. And yet the wasp is still with us. Why? They have no relevance to the food chain. They cannot make any honey, and they aren’t fluffy. Wasps can smell out a bowl of sugar from five miles away. How do they do that when sugar does not smell?

They also organize flight paths between food sources and their nest. But how, unless they’re been trained in air traffic control? Wasps are also vindictive. Many creatures will attack when threatened or hungry, but a wasp will attack you if annoyed slightly. And unlike a bee, which tears out its entrails while plunging its stinger into you, a wasp can sting you again and again.

Annoyingly however, wasps also live amongst us in church. They are both on your staff and a part of your volunteer core. As a ministry leader you no-doubt have people that are useless to you. They don’t usually volunteer. And if they do they are very picky, the first to whine, inherently late and flaky, and they do it without a sense of passion. Every church has freeloaders and naysayers, but what do you do with them? The church stopped officially sanctioning executions in the 17th century, so put away those asbestos salad toppings.

Working with these people is akin to a ship trying to sail while dragging its anchor. Anchors are for keeping you constant and unmoved regardless of the weather, but that’s not what the church should be culturally and dynamically. It should always be adapting to reach people. Growing churches are ones that never let down their anchor, they’re always looking to grow and move, always looking to capture the slightest wisp of breeze. In short, growing churches don’t have anchors, because they are heavy to carry.

To make matters worse, the prescription is worse than the diagnosis: Get rid of your wasps. Wasp staff members will only be an incumbency providing little cost to benefit ratio for the church organization. Wasp volunteers will only keep your ministry from effectively reaching to the community. You are better off without them. You’ll find another staff member and more volunteers, and your morale will be higher without them. Do you have people who are hurting you and keeping you from moving forward while at the same time eating your honey? Get rid of them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a wasp that needs the proverbial can of RAID.