Someone once said, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I stumbled upon a vivid illustration of the truth of this statement just this week.
As, hopefully, all of our members know, February 5, 2017 is our Commitment Sunday. Our shepherds are asking each member to make a commitment to how they wish to be involved in the ministry of this congregation. We will give each member an “Involvement Survey” to complete and return before they leave that Sunday morning.
At our Elders and Deacons meetings, the past few months we’ve been talking about involvement in our worship services and in the congregation as a whole. We are concerned about the same people always teaching Bible classes, saying prayers, leading songs, etc. Thus the Involvement Survey we will be filling out on Sunday, February 5, 2017.
What does that have to do with what I stumbled across this week? Well, what I stumbled across this week is a survey that was conducted at Eastgate in January, 1981.
This survey was basically a “How are we doing?” survey. It was passed out to all members and the results were broken down into four age groups (under 20, 20-30, 30-50, and 50+).
In each of the four age brackets, “Involvement of the Members” was in the “four areas of lowest evaluation.” Along these lines several mentioned having the same people lead the worship services all the time, singing the same songs over and over (although some older groups did say they wanted more familiar songs...while the younger groups wanted to sing newer songs that were a little quicker tempo), etc.
Involvement simply by attending on Sunday night and Wednesday night was also a large area of concern. I want to quote a 1981 30-50 year old member here: “What can you do for people who do not feel the need to come? They are missing so much!” Truer words were never spoken. We miss so much when we are not involved in the ministry of the church.
Essentially, in January, 1981 we were dealing with some of the same things we are dealing with in January, 2017. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
I pray that in 36 years when some preacher is poking around the office and stumbles across this Involvement Survey and the results they will say, “Wow! In 2017 they saw a need, met the need head on and really changed the course of the congregation! That Involvement Survey was a turning point in the life of the Eastgate congregation.”