I've recently become an advisor for the local chapter of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. The UK Chapter had a week long of recruitment and welcomed 69 new girls into what I would say was one of the best decisions I made while I was in college. I wasn't a HUGE part of helping them with recruitment, but just by being on the advisory board I was kept informed, and sort of "went through" the recruitment process with them.
However, I also went through both sides of the recruitment process myself. Granted it was 4 and 8 years ago, the last time that I did that, but I sitll have vivid memories of the huge undertaking it is for sorority recruitment.
This morning I preached at Woodland, and me and my partner-in-crime -Marsha - we helped lead the church while our interim minister is taking some leave for some family emergencies. Apart from the little "pat on the back" that I want to give the two of us (I know that's a bit selfish) I honestly think we did a good job. It's really hard for a church to go through so much change, and so its important that we make sure our members are experiencing genuine worship lead by individuals who genuinely care about their well-being and each person's individual relationship with God. And not that we were putting on an act, but I think we demonstrated that, people saw that this morning and people are responding to such transitory leadership, and still feeling led and cared for (which is ideal!). At any rate - following worship, Marsha and I spoke together with an individual who had visited the church a few times, and was interested in learning more about Disciples and our congregation.
As we sat there and talked with this individual, I just couldn't help but think about sorority recruitment and how much it felt so similar. Marsha and I sat that and tried to answer this individual's questions, and the two of us attempted to answer the questions as genuinely as possible, from our point of view and from our experience with the church. We also tried to express the immense love and connection we have with this church and its members. And honestly, at times it felt as if we were reverting back into sorority recruitment. Sorority recruitment has such a terrible spin on it - as does fraternity recruitment - Greek Life in general for that matter, but I have to admit, when doing sorority recruitment, from the side as a current member recruiting new members, it is really just a matter of sharing your genuine story, and sharing your experience with that group of women. I know its become so much more, and so much less at the same time, but in the end, isn't that all it is? Expressing to another individual how much you have enjoyed your experience with that particular organization (church or sorority) and why you think they as an individual would enjoy it as well?
I just hate the pressure that goes along with it. I hate the pressure I have as a minister to "recruit" while at the same time not being "pushy" to push people into the church when they aren't/weren't ready. The pressure that we have to be genuine in order to share our genuine experiences with the church, while at the same time not coming across as superficial. I also hate that so many people have felt pushed out or alienated by the church. I want to shout it from the rooftops that church can be this amazing place - it CAN be a loving place where we all share in our struggles, our joys, our questions, our answers, our loves, our trials, all of it - we all share in it together and strive to live with one another and in relationship with God. Church CAN be a place where a community comes together that we might all figure out this thing called "faith" together, that we all might be humble and genuine, we all might be able to be who we are without ridicule, while still helping one another down the right path. It CAN be - but it hasn't been - and I'm having a hard time "marketing" when we have such a bad history...
But not today... today we shared our story.... our good experiences... and we shared God's presence... and we welcomed someone in...
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