I love metal chairs. They bring back fond memories for me of being in high school and going to church. I remember every Wednesday and Sunday night that we would have tons of metal chairs set up in nice neat rows up in the youth ministry area at our church. When I started driving, I would arrive at church early. I remember spending many hours with my youth minister helping set up those chairs. We called it “Chairs 101”. I always asked Dyer why it was so important to set the chairs up so neatly. Why not just have people set up their own chairs? Why not just set up a few and see if people don’t just get the idea to set up more on their own?
Dyer told me that he felt like one of the most important things he did in ministry was to set up chairs. He always insisted on setting them up in nice and neat rows. He said that for the most part, no one ever thinks about the chairs unless they aren’t set up or if they are a mess. He wanted the chairs to be a background piece that was taken care of so that people could come in and be welcomed into the place of worship. Dyer did a ton of cool things in youth ministry over the years. He continues to be a great mentor in my life, but above all, I remember how important chairs are.
I have never forgotten that lesson. He told me that almost 13 years ago. I have now been in youth ministry for over 6 years and agree that chairs are at the very heart of what ministry is about. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I’m supposed to do and who is supposed to do what. Then…I start setting up chairs and it all seems to make sense. I am supposed to set up chairs because it gives people a place to sit when they come in for worship. By touching every chair, I also have an opportunity to pray for the people who will be sitting there. I pray that God would take away their burdens and distractions and fill their cup by His grace.
This year has been an added bonus with back-to-back chapels. That means that we set up 300 chairs each week that are used by 500-600 students and staff. Each chair is at least 2 opportunities to impact someone’s world for Christ.
Sometimes I get tired of setting up the chairs. Then I have to remember that other people are tired too. I may or may not be able to do much about their burdens, but at least I can set up a chair for them to sit in so that they can rest and hear from God.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”