He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32 NIV).
There is a young woman in your congregation. She is between the ages of 18 and 25, and you might not know this, but she doesn’t really have a place where she feels she belongs. You can see that her church is important to her, because she makes a real effort to be there often, but she just isn’t involved in anything.
I think you know who I’m talking about. She’s probably a bit on the quiet side. She’s friendly when approached, but she just hasn’t got herself involved in the congregation the way you think she should.
What you might not know is that she has skills and abilities that could serve the LWMLC well in the future. She has the makings of a future leader, but they’re qualities that might be beneath the surface—qualities that aren’t always able to shine through during the hour you’re together at church every week. She might be a whiz with numbers. She might be an exceptional project organizer. She might be a gifted musician, an amazing cook or a fantastic seamstress. She might even have the makings of a future zone, district or national president. But she’s not a member of the LWMLC.
She needs to be valued for all her amazing skills, not simply for her age.
Right now she’s probably still in school, or she has just started her career. She’s busy; there’s no question about that. She could have the skills and education to manage large groups of people at her work, where she is already respected in her field.
But how busy is she? She’s able to make it out to church most Sundays, so she’s obviously chosen to make time in her life for that. But she looks around the church that she loves, and she sees what is on the surface—she sees that it runs just fine without her involvement.
I think you know the truth, though—your congregation needs her, and so does your LWMLC society.
So what’s to be done?
You’ve invited her out to a meeting, but she hasn’t come. She probably just doesn’t want to get involved, right?
The truth is this woman needs a job to do. She needs a purpose within the organization, and she needs to be valued for all her amazing skills, not simply for her age. Does she have any idea how much you need her? Does she know how much WE need her in our district or nationally? (If you make a point of giving her a copy of this article, she might get an idea.)
Sometimes it’s hard to find a young woman a meaningful job to do, because those jobs are already being done. Why should she be asked to convene a bake sale or a church dinner if it already runs like a well-oiled machine? Why should she be on the altar guild when it already operates without a hitch? Why should she be asked to lead your Bible study when you’ve already got that covered?
Because she needs to know that she is important to you. Not because she’s young, but because she’s valuable. If you want her involved, you need to find out what her strengths are, and let her know how important they are to your society, your zone and your district.
If she doesn’t know how to do something—teach her. If she’s slow to learn her new role, encourage her. But don’t mistake her learning for inability. We’ve all been involved in our congregation so long that we forget what it was like to learn the jobs we have. But we all did it, and she can, too. With your support and encouragement, there’s no telling how much she can do.
Right now, she’s a mustard seed. But we know how deceiving that tiny seed can be…. Don’t let her youth fool you—she’s capable of amazing things if you take the time to plant her properly.
The above article was published in League Tidings, the newsletter of LWMLC, Ontario District and is reprinted here from Tapestry, Spring 2013. To receive the magazine, click here for a subscription form.