I grew up--well, during my teenage years--serving in a church. I taught Sunday School and Jr. Church, I worked in the nursery, I sang in church regularly, I played clarinet or piano in church. I cleaned the church. I helped plan and organize functions. I did set up and clean up for numerous functions. I was in a place where servants were needed, and for the most part, nobody was turned away.
Then I went to college. Church was a bit different because it was HUGE, and certain requirements were needed in order to serve in different areas. In the long run, I wasn't able to do much for church because I worked through most church services. I did manage to work in the church nursery a few semesters.
After college, my husband and I were members of and served in a small, local church where had interned during college. Again, we had the opportunity to serve. We sang in church, we worked in the bus ministry (which I loved!), we taught Jr. Church, I helped with dinner on the grounds, I helped with the annual teen banquet--again, pretty much nobody who was willing was turned away.
For multiple reasons, we moved away from that local church and began attending another local church--a much larger local church. The church services are broadcasted, so much work goes into any type of special music done in church. My instrumental talents are not good enough to be used in church. I have neither the appearance or am of the right clique to be able to sing in church. I could be in choir, except that the practice times are difficult for our family to work with with our children.
I was asked at some point to be a backup nursery supervisor. I was very excited. The nursery is probably on my top-three list of areas to serve in a church. One time I was asked ahead of time if I could cover a service, and I had to say no. I was then removed from the list--but I was notified. I just kind of noticed one day. Partly because I kept volunteering to cover shifts when I knew someone would be out. Or on those Sundays when babies are many but workers are few, I would volunteer to help. I would be told, "No, I think we'll be okay." And then see other people filling those spots instead. I know I shouldn't be so petty and sensitive about things, but this was something I wanted and love to do. Perhaps because my parenting philosophies so greatly differ from many in the nursery? I don't know. I could handle it if I knew why I can't do more in there!
Some of the other areas of interest are not necessarily the "fault" of the church that we're not serving in them. We would love to work in the Sunday night children's ministry. However, the man who heads up that ministry has been--difficult--with my husband on the day-to-day job front. So for that reason alone, my husband doesn't feel like dealing with him at church. I realize this is a problem on our side. But this could be a down fall to everyone working and living and going to church all at one place! Again, however, because of our children, serving in this ministry would not be overly convenient since they are still too young to participate in that ministry, and no nursery is provided during part of that time.
I love to coordinate functions and help with set-up and break-down from different functions at normal churches. However, our church has a catering service that takes care of everything for normal functions. So there's no need for help in that area, either.
Overall, we chose the church we're in, and I do prefer the structure of the children's ministries at this church, which is the primary reason we chose this church. Once it came to deciding on church because of how are kids would be trained and influenced by the people at church, we chose this one. But I long to be back in a place where servants are needed and wanted. Where people offer help, and they are gladly accepted. Where no matter who you are, where you've been, who you know, who you're related to (okay, well that will come up at any church!), or what you look like (not just facial appearance, but clothing and hairstyle as well), as long as you're a willing vessel, you can still be used.