Volleyball was to start at 7 P.M., and I steered my VW Bug into the nearly empty parking lot right on the hour. Pulling in behind me were the Johnsons, first-time visitors I had invited on Sunday.

"Hi, Pastor!" they called as they tumbled out of their car, decked out in the latest Puma fashions and eager to play. "Where is everybody?"

"We already have enough for a good time, and more are on the way!" I replied with a salesman's smile. But inside I was furious and embarrassed. Eventually a few more people arrived, but the letdown's damage was done.

The Johnsons stuck it out for six months and then left. I sadly made that "We missed you" phone call that followed the "We missed you" note. They said they didn't want to get stuck with all the church work others had evaded.

Disappointing participation. We've all known it. A chairperson begins the meeting with those deadly words, "Let's wait for a few more people to get here." Or the question, "Are there any volunteers?" is met by bowed heads and ...

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