How do you "just say no" (to your church)?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tinamarie1, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    First, let me just say that I am horrible at having the ability to tell people "no" when they need something. (bet yall hadn't guessed that about me yet lol)
    We just joined a church a few months ago, and the other day my bible study teachers wife called me and asked if I could meet her at the church that evening to help discuss and plan some events for our class (cook outs, etc) and send cards to people who haven't been in a while. This sounded like a great idea, right up my alley, I love doing hospitality things like this. AND I have no friends here yet, and I was thinking this was my chance to start a great friendship with this lady. So, I show up to a room full of about 100 people, spread out with groups at tables. I am a little confused. Then someone gets up at a microphone and says Welcome to Leadership 101. HUH? I am still trying to be patient and figure out what the heck is going on. This was a seminar for leaders in bible study groups. After the man finished talking (by the way there were 4 of us at our table), the teachers wife who had invited me pulls out this sheet of paper and begins saying "now who will take on the roll of contacting all new people?" "who will committ to going on visits every week?"
    Gee, nothing like feeling like you are put on the spot. Because no one else (the 2 other people) spoke up, she looked at me and said, I really feel like this would be great for you. So, I committed to doing the 2 things mentioned above. I feel like kicking myself now. I have such little time left over at the end of the day. But I know that this is just the beginning. I know next will come someone asking me to work with preschoolers (i would rather get a sharp poke in the eye), but I just have such a hard time saying no. And when I do say yes, I end up backing out on the committment I have made, making me feel worse and feeling like people are looking at me in a horrible way. I know the church relies on volunteers, and I have some things in mind that I would like to do, but they usually are always in need of people to make visits and people to work in preschool. As a matter of fact, the gentleman speaker just threw into his little speech that they have had 6 preschool teachers leave in the last month...desperation. *sigh*
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    Well, you can certainly give the jobs a try for a short time and then if you feel that you can't manage it, just tell the woman....Listen, I just don't have the time to manage this....Is there something else that I can help with once in a while? I was doing someting once a month for our church, but cut back and told them I'd do it every other month. Someone else is filling in the odd month. It'll work itself out.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I would be politely direct and let them know you "misunderstood" what she was talking about when she invited you to meet her. Explain what you're happy to do now, and what you just can't commit to yet, but that perhaps when your situation changes you'll be ready for a role like the one she ROPED you into!

    Well, maybe swap another word for ROPED -- ha! ha!

    It's okay to say no to people. They won't think any less of you, and if they do, you don't need them in your life.

    It's NOT okay to betray yourself and do things you end up regretting. Regardless of whom it's for.
  4. ChefPaula1965

    ChefPaula1965 Oh my aching back!!

    Wow... did you ever get snookered into this!!!
    Saying "no" was something I used to have a hard time doing.. but then realized that it was better to say no.. than to say "yes" and either not be able to do it and back out (they really give you the "pack your bags for a guilt trip" on these.. or do things begrudgingly at the expense of the family time we so desperatly need..
    Hospitality is also something I like to do.. when I say no I usually add.. but I would be glad to do such and such.. or help out such and such amount of time or on such and such days..
    I feel your pain... but his women really "snookered" you......... for this she is VERY wrong..
    I would feel violated and lied to...........
    Hugs to you
  5. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Is there something you think you could do and be good at that you have time for? If so, I would tell her that you just can't possibly manage this now, you're sorry you misunderstood what she had in mind, and firmly tell her that you can't do this but maybe she'd consider you for the other.

    Last year our I showed some slides from one of my trips at a church function and the pastor asked me if I would help run the projector during the service. She indicated that it would be like showing a power point presentation. Then I found out that it included doing a lot of other stuff that I didn't feel that I could handle well. I told her that I just didn't feel competent to do it and, no, I wasn't doing it. However, I asked her if they had any need for an artist. I had in mind posters, teaching aids for Sunday school, etc. She couldn't think of anything there but she did want someone to do a seasonal display near the altar at the front. So I agreed to do that. It is something I know how to do, I can do it by myself (I'm not all that sociable), and it only takes me about half an hour at church about once a month. Of course, the planning takes a little longer but I can do that in the middle of the night or whenever I feel like it.

    I tend to rebel when I somebody tries to push me into something I don't want to do but I've always been that way so saying no is not such a big problem for me. But I don't mind doing my part, as long as it's something I CAN do and have time for. Maybe you can make some kind of suggestion that would use your talents. If they decide to use you that way, fine. If not, that's fine too; you gave them the option.
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Make up your mind now not to accept anything on the spot but to take time to think about it before giving them an answer. Try something like "Could you email a list of what this ministry would include and I'll get back to you after I've had time to think and pray on it".

    There will always be more jobs to do at church than there are people to fill them. If this is a season in your life when you need to keep it to a minimum, then so be it.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I'd tell her that it wasn't what I was expecting, and that at this point I would pass. I would offer to talk to her more privately about what I might like to offer. This has happened to me before, and I find it a little underhanded, in all honesty.

    100+ people? Is this the right size congregation for you? You've only been a couple of months, maybe you haven't quite found the right fit yet.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911


    You know - before I had therapy I used to have the most HORRIBLE time saying no. When it was finally pointed out to me that my ability to say no, led me to get hooked into doing things I did not want to really do. That in turn caused me stress.

    I love it when aggressive people like telemarketers are put in positions of power in the church to force less aggressive people into doing things they really don't want to do. In my opinion that is poor leadership. If she were selling homes - that attitude would be fine. She's not - she's ASKING for volunteers and NO ONE ELSE opened their mouth. At that point she should have said something to the effect of - "Well if this isn't your cup of tea, lets think about something that we could have you do that you would enjoy." Instead a man butts in and makes his presence known and now you are stuck.

    My advice at this point since you are of a timid nature would be to confront her about this. And maybe you can practice saying this to the mirror the dog - someone to hear what you sound like saying it aloud.

    T - Ms. X may I speak with you about something ?
    X- Sure T, what is it?
    T - I appreciate you inviting me to that meeting the other night, but I felt like I was pushed into doing the (this and that), and I'm not comfortable with (this and that)
    X-I did not know you were uncomfortable, sorry
    T - Well Due to time constraints and scheduling, raising a child I am not going to be able to give 110% to that project, but would be able to (Insert here what you could do to help) if the need arose. I only have (really 5 or 6 but cut that in half) 2-3 hours a week free time for me and I would gladly give that up for my church. Can you find me a task more suited to my schedule?
    X-I'll see what I can do.
    T - Okay - thanks.

    AND DO NOT APOLOGIZE - she pushed you into it, you felt compelled to do it, and now you are offering your time....and talents.
    In essence - you backed out of it with a valid reason - you have no time
    You agreed to do SOMETHING that you were suited to that makes you happy to do
    You agreed to give your TIME to the church - which also makes you happy

    Don't write a letter, don't go into how you don't want to do this or that - just follow the script, practice it and go for it.

    The next time you are involved in a meeting and someone volunteers you for something - Speak up - and say "I'm not able to do that due to my schedule," then turn to the person that volunteered you and say "I appreciate the compliment - you must really think I'm organized to volunteer me for extra work with my schedule - why don't YOU do it?"
    Then get up and excuse yourself -

    Saying no - does not come naturally to most personality types - it takes work - you can research it on the web - Type in HOW TO SAY NO on google - or talk to a therapist about it.

    I'm a LOT happier and a lot less stressed out - by saying no.

    Just this past week - I said no to a pit bull puppy, a ferret, and a new baby rat. Normally I am weak about orphans - then I think what time will all that take up of mine for doing things I want to do?

    Pretty much stops me cold. Even if what I want to do is NOTHING. And as far as the nursery - I did an entire schedule for our church nursery. Seems everyone was volunteering BUT the mothers dropping the children off - so I put up a schedule for my girlfriend who ran the day care- each mother of a child volunteering 2 Sundays a month. If there was more participation for the FREE DAYCARE - then it went to 1 Sunday a month - but we finally were able to convince the pastor into telling people if you have a child in day care - you WILL volunteer in the nursery a minimum of 1 Sunday. Now instead of a few women who don't even have children complaining about it - EVERYONE knows if they drop off 1 kid - it's 1 volunteer day, 2 kids - 2 volunteer days. Whether it was Sunday or Wed. We had parents scheduled to do volunteering nursery duty.
    I have no little ones - and my son sat with me in church when we got to go - so I didn't care to hear anyone who got 3 weeks of free Sunday daycare - complain about pitching in for 1 measly Sunday. Some wanted to go to Sunday School and not chapel - fine. Others got there for Sunday School day care and left for chappel. After all - someone was watching YOUR child, it was after all very fair. Some parents started to bring their children (newborns) into the chappel, but we record for shut ins, so if the baby gets fussy they have to leave immediately - and most will head to the nursery, sign up and ask if they can leave the baby for the duration. It's worked very well with people who count and oversee that things are FAIR. (wink wink)

  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I used to be the one that could not say NO either... but now I honestly can't give too much of myself... Life with K and N is too unpredictable. Even when I want to do something... things fall apart.
    Someone tried to volunteer me for something at K's school that would have been great because it was close to where we live... but I just said "Sorry, I am too busy." I offered to do something smaller out of my own home at my own time...
    I have found with time, it gets SO much easier to say NO, and I know when things calm down for me, I will volunteer again. The way I want.
    I do still volunteer. I make gift baskets and bake things... but it easier for me to time it and not worry about schedules...
    Good luck. Just say NO... Dare To Say No...
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    You could have sat at that meeting, jumped up like a difficult child and said


    Bet they'd want you to go door to door after that.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    This does sound like a rather large church. (based on the leadership meeting)

    Personally, it took me enough times of getting snookered into such situations to start having the word "NO" come out of my mouth.

    Practice makes perfect, too. And these days I practice alot. lol

    Yes, the church depends on volunteers, but volunteers serve organizations best when what they do suits their schedule, talents, and interests.

    I'd try it for a bit, if it's too much let her know then ask if there is something more suitable for you that you can help them with.

  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I've had great success by quoting a former pastor. He was very down to earth, and said during a sermon about church volunteering that he believed everyone should do three thrings at church...attend services for one, and the other two should be either small group activities or some type of service. That way, no one was overwhelmed, and everyone got the chance to participate. When I'm asked, I just say I'm already committed to my three things, but thanks for thinking of me, and I stick to it.
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Mary, that line also works for phone calls asking for donations :) I always use it to gently say no to solicitors... Sorry, we've already made our charitable donations for the year!