Lutheran Ladies Confused, Overused, and Never Schmoozed

English: Vacation Bible School at the Monsey C...

As much as I grumble about change, sometimes expectations need to take a flying leap into the nearest disposal.

During a Council meeting, we discovered the Ladies’ Circle was branded with certain expectations.

Committee members were making reports of “happenings” which went something like this…

1)      “Well, this church is going to host an all-day hospitality workshop for the district. And we’re working with the Ladies’ Circle to provide lunch and snacks.”

Sounds  exciting. Next report….

2)      “There’s a Memorial Service on Friday.  The Ladies’ Circle will provide a meal for family and friends.”

They always honor the families with such a wonderful gift.  Next report

3)      “The church needs a new heating unit, so we’d like to have BBQ fundraiser. Or maybe a strawberry shortcake feed.  We’re trying to get the Ladies’ Circle to help with the details, but they’re slow in getting back to me.”

Let us know when you get it worked out.  Next report on volunteers.

 4)      “Well, we’re having trouble getting volunteers for coffee hour.  Maybe the Ladies’ Circle will fill in when no one signs up?”

And

5)      “We could use help providing the snacks for Vacation Bible School, but a number of the women in the Ladies’ Circle say they aren’t going to be around….”

Okay…when the litany of requests line-up, the expectations become obvious.  Often, IF it has to do with food, some people think a gangle of church ladies are standing by, bowls and spatulas in hand, waiting to whip up…and even more importantly…clean up.

Usually the ladies consider it an honor to help out. A gift.  And it is—until everyone starts expecting that it’s their job.

In this day when so many of the women work and those that are retired are traveling, sometimes there aren’t enough hands to do all the great projects everyone else comes up with.

 HOW TO FIX IT?  (Because we love to fix things).

  • Change expectations.   Just because it has to do with kitchens, coffee, or food, doesn’t mean it’s a Ladies’ Circle “thing.”  One of the best fundraisers I’ve been to was a men’s chili cook-off. Probably because men were cooking and cleaning, but it was totally worth the money to watch.
  • And it’s great when different groups host coffee meet/greet.  The 3rd/4th Grade hosted coffee hour by baking animal cookies one Sunday and serving the next Sunday. I think there was a lesson about Noah in there somewhere, but it sure got a lot of different people involved.
  • But…what if “nobody wants to do it?”  That’s tough one.  Rather than asking the same people over and over until they burn out, perhaps it’s time to change the expectation that it must be done.   And that’s how change comes about.   Some people will be shocked into volunteering when they find out the annual rummage sale isn’t taking place because no one else wanted to organize it.  And if no one volunteers?  Perhaps it’s time for a break? Let it go for a while.
  • Lastly, When’s the last time you thanked the Ladies’ Circle?  Or the Property Committee? or the the Sunday School Teachers?  Or….. you get the idea. I mean really thanked them, in addition to  hurling a few bodacious words their way.

    This image was selected as a picture of the we...

    This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Czech Wikipedia for th week, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A card. A cookie is nice. Yes indeed, people are usually willing to volunteer. It’s a gift. But when a contribution is taken for granted,  it tends to fray the bow on the present.

If you wanted to say thanks and schmooze your Lutheran Ladies’ Circle today, (or your favorite volunteer group), I’m sure it would be appreciated.  And remember: Chocolate is always welcome.

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4 thoughts on “Lutheran Ladies Confused, Overused, and Never Schmoozed

  1. I learned an important lesson a few years ago: if God wants something done, He provides EVERYTHING needed for its completion. So, if the rummage sale has no volunteers, then God must not want it done. As you said, let it go. We burn ourselves out when we are doing anything in our own strength instead of His.

    Thanks for your comment on my solstice post, it gave me the impetus needed to come to your blog. I will be back!

    • Well, I’m not for sure if it’s God’s will, or there’s simply a streak of burned out women, but I’m with you. There’s a time to rest and recuperate. It’s kind of like when no one will do the laundry or wash dishes…in a college apartment. Eventually there’s no clean clothes to wear or clean plates to eat off of.

  2. Such great suggestions! It is difficult when people fall into the idea that they expect the ladies to do it all. “Oh, the ladies will do it. They always volunteer.” It does tend to make the volunteers feel used. I used to volunteer a LOT and began to feel more used than appreciated. I had to cut back for myself.

    • Well, thank you, Rose for your honesty. When I first asked this question, ladies said things like…”Oh we don’t mind.” But after about 20 minutes of telling stories of last-minute planning and under-the-table grumbling, they said, “Well, it is a real pain in the keister.” Thanks for coming by, Rose.

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