Several years ago our church started a new ‘contemporary’ service designed to reach out to newcomers. We determined that folks who had never been to church were more likely to come to a neutral site instead of a sanctuary. Fortunately there was a large room directly across the street from the church. We negotiated with the owners to rent that facility every Sunday morning for our service. The room was often rented out for Saturday parties and receptions. Their custodial staff was not available late on Saturdays. So the agreement we came to was that we would clean the facility before we used it. We really did not have any idea of what we were getting in to. Each week a group of volunteers would arrive, often before the sun was up, to haul the needed equipment across the street, set up chairs and clean up. It took 150 volunteers each month.
Sometimes there were some pretty big messes left behind. One week someone had thrown up in one of the rest rooms. Food was sometimes spilled and ground into the carpet or left on the tiled floors. We even had wine glasses left in the urinals from one party! I won’t forget Chip, one of our volunteers. He ran his own company and did well. He would arrive each week to help get ready and ask, “What’s the worst thing we’ve got to do this week? Let me do it!” He was the one who cleaned up the vomit. He was the one who fished the wine glasses out of the toilet. He was the one who cleaned up the cake ground into the carpet. After he finished with the worst cleanup tasks, he would make sure the glass doors were spotless and went into the parking lot to greet our guests with a warm smile.
Our service grew from about 100 the first week to two services, then we built a new worship center and the service grew to over 600 every week. As a minister, I’d like to believe it had a lot to do with the excellent messages. 😉 However, I suspect that the blessing of God had a lot to do with someone who was willing to be a true servant. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last and servant of all.” Mark 9:35b
This week I’ve come across a job that no one wants to do. Maybe I need to be more like Chip. How about you?
I’m impressed with Chip. What a sterling example of servanthood! I could learn a lot from him.