Have you ever been to an annual conference session? I’ve been there quite a number of times, and it always leaves me feeling a bit funny — what the psychiatrists call ambivalent.
Sitting in one of those cramped, usually less-than-comfortable seats for hours on end, trying to keep track of what’s going on, listening to people I don’t know drone on about things that they’re interested in, but I’m not, can be a real pain. But it’s the price of being a part of what’s going on, right? Yes, dealing with the details can be a hassle.
On the other hand, I always leave refreshed, happy that I’ve been there and been involved. Why? Because we’re all one church. The word is unity. If you’re not there, not willing to put up with the hassle, you’re not there for the wondrous things that do happen. Annual Conference is pretty much the same thing as what goes on in your local church, only on a much bigger scale.
There’s always more work than glory. I’m sure that Paul felt the same way as he traveled all those weary miles (on foot yet!) around to “his” churches. But there are those glorious moments that make all the rest worthwhile. When that someone droning on up there is telling you about the people who’ve been helped because your church supported their program, when you hear about things that never make it to your local Sunday morning service, when you have a chance to be a part of something bigger than you could ever accomplish by yourself, the painful details kind of fade into the background.
Would I ever have made it to Annual Conference if I’d never become a Lay Servant? Maybe or maybe not. If not, I’d never have had the chance to be aware of a much larger world, one where I (and my local church) have a part of doing things that impact people’s lives. Things that help people who need it. Things that I’d never have known about — if I hadn’t been willing to put up with the hassle as well.
Being a Christian is work, but in return, it gives an opportunity to share those moments of glory too.
David Wasserfallen is the Five Rivers District Lay Servant Ministry director.