Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hanging Up

I hung up on the church office Thursday. It might have been an unChristian act of anger, but I felt justified. The call came right in the middle of dinner preparations, it was about an event I had already heard announced on Sunday, and it was a recorded message! I hate when telemarketing companies who consider their own staff’s time too valuable to waste calling me think it’s okay to interrupt my schedule; it’s even worse when my church does it.

Until recently, the church secretary would call to remind us about specific events we hadn’t signed up for. Even knowing that our family was one on a long list of families, it made me feel like someone actually cared whether we came or not. Talking to a live person gave me an opportunity to connect with the church and express any concerns I had about the upcoming event. (“We can’t come because we have no one to babysit.”) At the same time, personal calls gave the church leaders a chance to find out how the congregation was doing and to see whether there were any issues that had to be addressed.

My family used to matter. Now we are just names – not even names, numbers – on a list dialed by a computer. Our church is growing, but it is not so big that a real person (or team of people) can’t call through a list of members. No church should ever be that big.

After hanging up on the church on Thursday, I felt like I had been rude. So when we received another recorded call from the associate pastor on Friday, I listened to the entire message. Then the church hung up on me.

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