A Word of Encouragement

Today I received a word. A much needed word. And it was not the sermon. You know I gotta set up the scene. This is a very long story but if you want to go straight to the main point, go to the last paragraph. I think it would help if you read my story but it’s up to you. This is to help encourage you to keep on keepin on.

So I’ve been ushering for a few years now. I wouldn’t say I’m a head usher but I’m pretty darn close. As we must do when we start a job, I spent my first few months learning the ropes of ushering. Back then, my church only had one service on Sunday. Soon after I got the hang of things, they announced that there would be two services, like so many other churches. And so the regular 10:30 service was after the new 8 am service, which was an abbreviated service and is now known to have a low attendance.

Instantly, ushers starting dropping off. I’m not sure why, but it happened. And then the remaining ushers could only do one service. I, along with the three head ushers and another usher, were consistently at both services. As time went on, I came early enough to where I now set up the sanctuary for service. I make sure all the supplies are laid out for everybody to use.

Fast forward to late 2012, perhaps October. Here I am, ushering for now three years and one of only three ushers to man the 8 am service. Now, the minimum amount of ushers needed to be effective is four, so it’s not so bad. The problem lies in the 10:30 service where only about five ushers are stationed. The minimum needed though is 10-12. So we’re constantly short.

What’s a guy to do?

Now this is where things get even worse. I have to choose my words carefully because I’m not trying to run anybody under the bus. But, one of our head ushers threw in the towel and quit over a altercation between the head of the usher and security team. Now, I don’t have the gory details so I’m not going to speculate there. But now, he’s gone. And then another usher left because another “problem”. You see, the big issue was that church leadership is putting pressure on us to perform at at least minimal efficiency but we didn’t have the amount of manpower to get it done and it got frustrating for some because most of our pleas for help went ignored or tossed back to us like we were on our own.

And so in the last month, May, I’ve noticed that we’re even more shorthanded than before. Where it used to be 3-4 ushers for the 8 am service, we are now down to just me. Yup, for two weeks in a row, I alone set up the sanctuary and then manned the doors while handing out various brochures and such for the congregation.

So here we are, May 26th, 2013. I woke up at my usual time an ironed my shirt and put on my suit and tie. All the while, there was something stirring in my heart. Something bad. I knew that very soon I was going to have a meltdown. I didn’t know exactly when or where. But I knew, that one day, probably a Sunday, I was going to be in a bad state of mind and somebody was going to say something along the lines of “I know you’re the only guy here, but you have to do better” because that’s been going on for some time. To put it simply: I was going to quit ushering.

Now back in October of 2012, I said to myself that May would be my last month and if the church leadership didn’t help us out by getting the supplies we need and for making the simple announcement that more help was needed, I was gone. No longer would I work at 200% Yes, TWO hundred percent. And still have people saying it’s not enough.

And so, this last week of May, God sent someone. It had to be God. I’ll tell you this: My sister had a soccer tournament today. All of Saturday I was trying to decide if I should go to church or watch the games. A strong…feeling…urge…told me to go to church. and again, I told you how I was all alone for the most part trying to manage a 100+ group of people. Good thing I was there as it turned out there was extra work to be done than normal. After that service, as I was licking my wounds, someone came up to me and gave me a word. A word I needed. She kinda kept saying the same thing so I’ll just paraphrase what she said. She said that she was watching me and saw how great I’d been handling my post. It just so happens she’s the wife of one of the head ushers, who, due to a new job, will not be ushering much in the future. Anyway, she said how she tells her husband how I’m running the show and doing the thang!

So, the words she said spurred me. I was ready to throw on the towel and yet I feel like this whole thing today was God’s way of saying, “I will give you strength to carry on.” If I didn’t go to church, I would have thought that I was done. Encouragement.

I’ll tell you this now. Being an usher requires a certain heart and humility. If you love being in the spotlight and getting recognition for your actions, do NOT be an usher. I can only speak from experience at my church. Sometimes, at the end of services, a pastor will do a “curtain call” to the different aspects of the service. Rarely, and I mean maybe once a year, you hear them say something like “and give a hand to the ushers!”. If you need to hear that, at least for my church, don’t be an usher. I’ve always been a guy to purposefully run from the light. When they announced that I wrote my first book, which I had no idea they would, they had to practically drag me down the aisle so that I could receive a standing ovation. There’s a biblical principle in why I never toot my own horn.

I can easily work despite not receiving any type of praise. I do things because I want to or because it’s my duty that God has given to me. Ushering is one of the very few that fit both areas. Even still, I was not going to be worn like the way I am. I still see myself putting an end to my ushering at my church. Perhaps I should usher somewhere else? I’ve considered leaving my church earlier this year. Seriously leaving. But that word is going to get me through the summer at least.

But if something big doesn’t happen and I have the same issues as I did today, then I gotta call it a day and give it up. I refuse to do that along with school and blogging here. Not to mention I’m close to getting a part time job. I need a time of peace and rest so we’ll see.

But look, I have a message for you. Keep on doing the good you do. Even though people may not put the spotlight on your good works, do them because you want to. Do them because it will please God. Do them because doing good for others is a part of what makes you, you. It’s why I started this blog. Too many positives go unnoticed. TOO MANY. But don’t let it stop you from being good. Your actions are needed, even if they seem to go unnoticed and unappreciated. Keep fighting and know that the rewards you get from God are FAR greater than all of the rewards on this earth you may get, combined. And as long as you live for Him, He’ll give you the strength to keep going. And encourage each other. Pat each other on the back. Let’s lift each other up and make incredible waves in this world.



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