I volunteer at my church's Wednesday night kid's ministry - AWANA. For those who may not know, it's a ministry that emphasizes Bible memory. I work with the kindergarten kids, and we average about 16 kids per night and 4 or so adults, so that's about 4:1 kids:adult. If you've been around masses of 5- and 6-year-olds, you know that's about as much as one person can handle. And when you're listening to kids say verses, it's important to have the room pretty much under control.
But next door, in the first grade room, one adult volunteer got to deal with 11 or so kids - all by herself.
What is the deal?! Our volunteer rate is dropping faster than the temperature will be this weekend. Don't people realize that if we don't have enough volunteers, we can't give the kids the attention they deserve? It's like the parents treat this as a free babysitting service every Wednesday. One week, we had only two adults for 12 or so kids, and there were parents standing in the middle of my classroom talking! Hello! Wake up and smell the Play-Dough! We need your help!
What really breaks my heart is that almost all the volunteers whose own kids aren't directly involved in AWANA are retirees. Where are the young people? I'm one of the only non-parent volunteers. And you know what? Fifteen years from now, when our kids are in AWANA, the retirees won't be there any more. It's time for us, the Gen-X'ers and (whatever comes after Gen-X) to step up to the plate and do something for God. We're coasting behind the people who are doing the hard work, and it's going to be our turn to do the hard work soon. If we don't, no one will.
At our church, when we have baby dedications, the pastor asks the congregation if they pledge to do their best to help raise that child to know and love the Lord. Of course, everyone agrees. But their actions fall far short of their words. No one takes commitment seriously anymore.