I say we oughta just bill ‘em

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist

I had an interesting meeting at lunch with some of our leaders.

I have little doubt that most of the good things accomplished in this world are accomplished in spite of meetings, not because of them. We didn’t solve every issue — not even close — but I thought we at least came up with some worthwhile ideas, so I was pleased.
We talked first about some of our challenges.
Though we see some occasional growth and have even had what you might call a growth spurt — at least a growth trickle or two — it’s a challenge to hang on to members. It’s a pretty big challenge just to bring in as many as go out. We’re all getting older, some are sick or tired, some are already overworked. It seems like the same folks we have always counted on are the same ones still working and rarely complaining, but they desperately need some relief, some help.
Yes, but you know how it is: It’s always easier to sit around and criticize than it is to jump in and help.
Some folks seem a little discouraged. They’ve gotten busy with other things and it seems increasingly easy for them just not to show up. In our busy mobile society, anybody who wants a reason to be away surely doesn’t have to work hard to find one.
It’s hard to know how to encourage folks who are dropping off on their attendance. You want them to know they’re missed, but you don’t want them to think you’re ragging on them.
Somebody suggested a bit of a harder line. We need to expect folks who aren’t willing to show up and work to go ahead and send in some extra dollars to at least help pay for what needs to be done. Maybe what we’ve come to expect as normal is for 20 percent of folks to pay 80 percent of the freight and do 80 percent of the work, but it’s just not right.
Somebody else, though, made a great point.

“You know, at least a few of those who don’t come or only come rarely are still fairly faithful at sending in checks. At least some of them are trying to help. They feel like a part of this group even if they don’t show up much.”
Still another said, “We just need more members. Let’s start inviting more people to come.” More members, they reasoned, would mean more critical mass. Yes, we’d get some we’d rarely see, but surely there’d be maybe a few real workers among the bunch.
“I still think we oughta just bill ’em,” one guy said. “If they don’t show up and help, just come when they well feel like it, don’t give all that much, and pretty much think they have as much right to an opinion as anyone else, I say bill ’em.”
Wow. Tough church, you say.
Huh? Oh, wait a minute. You thought . . . Oh, that’s funny. You thought I was talking about the church.
No, I’m talking about my civic club that meets on Tuesdays.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at