Too much of the work in our congregations and our movement falls on the same people.
This should come as no surprise – it’s always this way in any volunteer organisation. There’s always more work than people to do it, and once you start becoming known, you get asked to do more and more.
I was talking to a couple of people about this recently. Andy Pakula was a little surprised to see that I’d taken on a new project, given that I had previously told him that I didn’t really want to be over-committed to Unitarian activities. And another friend mentioned that she was trying to stand back from her chapel a bit, and reduce the impact that it had on the rest of her life.
And you know, it’s often the people who always clear away the tables and chairs that do too much work. Because it’s never anyone’s official job to clear away – so it’s the people that remember who are likely to be the ones who notice other things that need doing. And, it’s an accurate rule of volunteering that if you think something needs doing, you’re probably going to end up doing it yourself.
The ones to emulate though, are those who cajole others into clearing away the tables and chairs. What we want to do is make everyone feel involved. And just because other people haven’t noticed something needs doing, that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to do it. Sometimes people just need enabling, or suggesting. As long as everyone is clear that being asked to do something is not being expected to do it.
The more people we can spread the load amongst the better for everyone. It will stop the over-volunteers from being burnt out. It will mean that more stuff gets done. And it means that we can build better communities, for it is in giving to a community that it becomes our own.