Richard writes…

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Turnout or Teamwork?

Church life isn’t “politics” (I hear you cheer!), but perhaps  an interest in “turnout” is one thing we have in common? Politicians talk about “getting out the vote” on election day, as we’re urged to “turn out” and do our civic duty . Certainly it’s taken as a sign of a healthy democracy when people respond in numbers.

Our (Sunday) turnout is, in turn, a mark of the health of All Souls. The number of people making the choice to come to church on a Sunday is a big deal when there’s so much competition for our time, energy and attention.

For a church, however, turnout, isn’t the only sign of good health. Alongside the importance of showing up, we know that teamwork is also vital.

That’s something we acknowledged when we chose to make “serving as part of a team” one of our core commitments, describing what it means to “count me in” to the life of All Souls. We did so because, in God’s community, not one of us is disposable. Each of us has a part to play in the health and life of the church.

And teamwork absolutely isn’t just about filling a slot on a rota. It’s about recognising that a healthy church is built by people using the gifts and energy they have to serve. All Souls is built on those teams of volunteers: people who, yes, “turn out” Sunday-by-Sunday, but who also serve, one way or another, as part of a team.

I’ve spent much of today, for example, at the Bridgelink on Ivybridge to launch our Friendship Café. I’ve been bowled over once again by the difference volunteers make to those who feel forgotten. And I could equally tell you about Wednesday mornings, when I lead an amazing team of volunteers running Little Souls, welcoming pre-schoolers and carers into our church halls. And then, of course, every Sunday, I see dozens of volunteers making everything possible, from our children’s groups and youth work, to the worship, welcome and refreshments.

Teamwork, of course, isn’t simply about being effective, but it changes the very team members who contribute so much. My experience has been that volunteers are often surprised by the gifts they can use, astonished at the difference their efforts can make and delighted to see their own faith grow as they serve on a team.

  • So, if you’re already a volunteer: Thank you! As we plan for September, would be willing to give it another year?
  • And if you’re not yet part of a team, or if you’d explore a new team too, will you let us know today?

You can read a summary of some of the All Souls teams we are gathering for September. Will you take a look and use our online form (or sheet at the back of church) to respond as God nudges you?

Thank you!