Summer is slipping by and soon we will arrive at that special celebration of Labor Day. A day that is both a summer celebration and a marker that summer is ending. A day that encourages us to think about what we have to offer through our work. A day that rejoices in the various gifts that people offer up to make life richer and fuller. So as we move toward Labor Day I invite you to think about how you will celebrate Labor Day this year as a congregation. Here are some possibilities:
*Focus on how we are called to serve, in whatever job we might have, as if serving the Lord. Talk about the traits we need to bring to our work (e.g. patience, honesty, integrity, love, kindness, goodness, self-control, peace, faithfulness) and highlight stories or people who have shown those traits in specific ways their work.
Perhaps have the story put in a group text, email, Facebook updates, or blog about one of these traits and a member who exemplifies it at work sent out each of 9 days prior to the holiday.
You could put up these stories on posters around the church for a couple of weeks around Labor Day (after all you need it up more than on Labor Day because many people are gone…having the focus ‘reach out’ to where the people are will be more effective than only reaching those who come on that particular Sunday)
*Take this opportunity to identify, highlight and celebrate the occupations of those in the congregation. For instance:
You could put up a web page that lists people and their occupations both alphabetically by name and under occupation headings.
You could create occupation posters with pictures of people in those jobs. You could have people stand during worship by occupation group (so as to shorten the length).
You could create a booklet with stories of delight, success and meaning found in various occupations. This booklet could talk about how they felt Christ was using/used them in the position.
*Take this opportunity to highlight church occupations and work opportunities.
Use it as a time to celebrate those serving the church. Talk about what they have done and how they have blessed the ministry. Celebrate their contribution to Christ’s work.
You can create internship programs. An internship is a short period that focuses on a specific area of ministry that the congregation has set out. Oftentimes internships will be for a summer. They offer an initial entry point to church work and the learning is predominately about the particular tasks that are being worked on (e.g. youth mission trips, children’s summer activities, etc.)
An apprenticeship program is a more intensive and longer termed opportunity to experience church work. Oftentimes the individual, along with the designated supervisor, can select the area of focus (e.g. youth, pastoral care, children, music, worship). Together you develop goals and objectives to reach those goals. The person commits for an initial 6 month period and then can recommit for 1 year terms. In addition to what they learn by working on the identified tasks, an apprenticeship provides learning by presenting information on the various aspects of ministry (e.g. stewardship, ethics, spiritual development, learning methods, pastoral care and more). An example of how I have organized an apprenticeship program is that the person volunteers 10-15 hours per week to the program. This time includes efforts focused on a ministry such as developing small groups in the church, time focused on working with the supervisor in talking about options and repercussions of various methods to reach the objectives, and time focused on teaching about general aspects of the ministry and the individuals feelings and thoughts about the experience.
If you would like more information about how we ran our apprenticeship and internship programs email and let me know of your interest.
July 19, 2012