A Deeper Bench

Imagine how good your basketball team is if your sixth man is LeBron James. lebron-on-the-benchLast year during the NBA playoffs, Lebron James offered to sacrifice his place in the starting lineup to be the Sixth Man if it would benefit his team –  the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He was willing to take a seat if it would get his team closer to winning the Eastern Conference.

This is not a post about basketball, though.

Many of our congregations are small and we believe our “bench” of volunteers is not strong.  We don’t know what we’d do without Mr. B teaching his Wednesday night Bible study because “there is no one else who could do it.”  Ms. C. has been in charge of coffee hour and flower arrangements and Vacation Bible School forever because she is good at those things and why change?

But I wonder if our bench is deeper than we’ve noticed.

This week, I’m at my denomination’s College Conference and more than 1000 college students and their pastors have come to talk about diversity and how God is nudging us in our relationships with God and each other.  They’ve come with ideas and callings and dreams.  Yes, they are busy college students.  But they won’t be in college forever.

And while there are probably some future seminarians in the room, most of the students I’ve talked with have plans to go into secular work after college.  These are our future church elders and deacons and teachers and worship leaders. Maybe.

It’s possible that their church participation won’t continue after college, but the fact that they are spending their winter vacation coming to a church conference makes me assume they take their faith somewhat seriously.

I wonder how we might continue mentor these students for leadership and be mentored by them in terms of doing effective ministry that will impact future generations.

But we don’t have any young people!” you might say.

And there could be many good reasons for this.  But my hope is that one of the reasons we don’t have young people is not because no one would ever take a seat to let them be in the starting lineup.

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