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Church Is the Home of the No-cut Audition

Lillian Daniel writes in "A Cast of Thousands”:

At my daughter's elementary school musical, the printed program noted: "This musical was originally written for 15 actors, but it has been adapted to accommodate our cast of 206." You know what kind of show this was. No-cut auditions, no performer left without something special to do. They danced, they sang, they delivered lines, and somehow 206 children graced the stage that night.

It was not a short program.

The church's calling is like the volunteer geniuses that took an elementary school musical with 15 parts and creatively made room for 206. We take a task that we could professionalize and simply pay someone to do, and we divide it into parts so that everyone has a job. Is it efficient? No. Not if all you care about is getting the job done. But the church cares less about getting the job done and more about the people doing it. We are not in the efficiency business. Our business is to make disciples. We want to offer as many people as possible the chance to know Christ in service and in community.

I have sat in church meetings where the most unlikely person volunteered for the job. The woman I had envisioned on the finance committee chooses instead to join a team of church supper cooks. We want her excellent mind and keen eye keeping track of our numbers. But that is what she does all day.

"At church, I want to do what I love," she says, and until then, I never knew it was cooking. That church supper could have been catered, with more efficiency, but instead the script was adapted to accommodate a person with a calling.

Sure, there are people we might not want on the program. Sometimes the accountant reminds us how grateful we are that cooking is not her day job. We have to adjust, to help her find the place where her gifts meet the world's needs. But in the midst of a bite of half-cooked quiche or rubbery sausage, we recall that Jesus came for all of us, not just the star performers, or even the competent.

The church remains the home of the no-cut audition. We don't get to choose the other members of our body. You have to want to get in, but once you are here, we will find a part for you to play.

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