Good ushering is church leadership. Most people don't think of it that way, but it is. Ushers are spiritual leaders in the church by modeling religious hospitality. Ushers can really set the tone of a church.
While I am taking a break from my professional work in the church to attend grad school, one of the things that I am looking forward to doing in the church I attend is ushering. When I say I am looking forward to it, what I mean is that I am doing a happy dance about it.
Why? Here are some reasons, both semi-silly and serious:
1. I won't know anybody, and I will want to get to know them. Ushering is an easy way to come to know the church regulars, and a good way to meet the not-so-regulars. Within a few months, I may not know everyone's names, but I will know whose names I "should" know (this way I don't have to worry so much about accidentally introducing myself to someone I've met five times already).
2. Ushering isn't labor intensive in the least, and yet it is high reward.
3. Ushering doesn't require a longterm commitment like many volunteer jobs, and since I know I am going to be overcommited in school, I am eager for a way to contribute my volunteer time to a church without getting myself in over my head.
4. Ushering will help me achieve my goal of being one of those people who has laugh lines in the mix of her wrinkles. Smiling is good for me. I am glad for the opportunity to be forced to spend a half hour stretch on Sunday morning just smiling away.
5. There is no view of the congregation that replaces that of the viewpoint of the usher.
Can I make a suggestion? I think everyone should usher -- even ministers, music directors, and religious educators, every now and then. It is true that not all ushers are leaders, but all leaders should sometimes be ushers.