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I have just been reading over some information on the people who make up the committees and groups at church, and it is really encouraging because there are over 50 names listed - a good proportion of those who are in membership or attend regularly.  When I was a student in Manchester, I knew a retired minister who told me had always had a policy of giving people little jobs to do in church as soon as they'd settled into a pattern of regular attendance.  His theory was that if people had a reason to be at church then (a) they'd be there (b) they'd feel needed/valued and (c) they would come to take appropriate pride in the church.  Over the years I have come to see a lot of sense in this philosophy, though it isn't entirely foolproof.  Sometimes people need church to be a safe enough space to slip in and slip out again; sometimes the battering they have taken in life means they need time to recover before taking on responsibility; sometimes people are just passing through on their way somewhere else.  Participation is excellent and essential, dare I say it, Biblical, but it needs to be handled sensitively and I for one don't always find the right balance.  The reality is that in many/most churches a very small proportion of the people do a very large share of the work.  Even so, already I am enjoying being part of a church where lots of people do a little bit, which saves me one line of preaching; I just need to spot the opportunities for those who don't yet have 'a little job' !!

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