I knew I needed to ask for a while – I didn’t know the right time or way to do it.

Recently I met with one of our key leaders, and he said, “Hey, I’m happy to help tear down, but life is such that I don’t feel like I can commit one or two months out. It is easier if it is more of a last-minute decision, and I bet I’m not alone. What if you made the ask at the end of the message for us to help tear down? I bet several folks would stay.”

I planted that in the back of my mind and knew a perfect time would come to “make the ask.”

Do you know how you feel when you are getting ready for something big to occur? Maybe it’s a holiday celebration with family, a party, a big work project and presentation, anything that a lot of work goes into. Then the actual execution of the event is significant as well. After it’s over, you are tired. Not just physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally, too.

That was the staff . . . the Halloween event was huge, with marketing, publicity, time spent getting AMPED ready, getting volunteers, then on the day of, set up, clean up . . . . it was a lot. And all were HAPPY to do it, but when I saw them at the end, everyone looked exhausted.  And Sunday is ALWAYS coming when you are in the church world. The time and energy they each put into making Sunday excellent for you, either online or in-person, is a lot. When I saw them Sunday morning, their eyes looked tired.

“Today is the day! Today is when I need to make the ask for tear down because they will be PAST done by then.”

The message was centered around being a “stretcher-bearer” for someone instead of a religious bystander, so the ask fit perfectly into the day’s theology.

I’m not great at asking for things . . . help, service/time, money . . . . but I also know it’s part of my job/role as the pastor. And I knew the staff needed some time NOT to live/breathe/eat/sleep “West.” So, for the benediction of in-person worship, I made the ask . . . . “If you have 10 minutes, could you stay and help . . . meet me at the front of the auditorium.”

The staff had no idea I had made the ask because they step out when the last song begins so they can greet you and get hospitality ready for you as you leave.

This morning Dawn said, “I didn’t realize that you had asked for tear-down help. I turned around, noticed three new people tearing down, and went to thank them! They shared with me that you asked at the end of the message. And WOW! It was finished! All the carts were in the parking lot, and it was done! It TRULY was such a miraculous thing.”

That may seem silly to you, a “miraculous thing,” but if you’ve been working for a “big thing” and spending all your waking hours trying to make that thing happen and you find yourself on the back end of just “one more thing” – it is easy to feel overwhelmed. So having help tearing down – it was a miraculous thing!

One lady replied to me as she rolled out a cart, “This is what I was looking for . . . to feel connected and like I belong and matter. This helps me do that!”

BAM – MIC-DROP! That’s the whole point of “getting on the field!”  To find connection, meaning, and purpose for a greater good, not just self-enlargement, is what we are called to do. We do that when we look out for others, take care of others, and be their stretcher-bearers.

Where can you be a stretcher bearer for someone today?