The old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” If that’s true, it must take an army to run a church. Often, it’s the spiritually growing members of your congregation who’ll step in as volunteers week in and week out. Because they’ve studied the Scriptures for themselves, they know that they’re the true ministers of the church. So they serve tirelessly and selflessly.
Now for the hard question: What can you do to say “thanks”?
Here are some suggestions to give the volunteer appreciation they deserve!
Simply say “thank you.” Stop a volunteer in the hallway at church or stop by a Sunday school classroom or the nursery and say, “Thanks for the work you do with kids each week.” This personal touch (especially from their pastor) will make a huge difference in how volunteers feel about their service.
Recognize volunteers from the platform. Take a few minutes at each service to recognize a volunteer or two. Honor both veterans and novices. Announce the church’s specific appreciation for each person’s area of ministry. This can be a great way to keep current volunteers and to recruit new ones—not because they’re receiving glory, but because the church genuinely appreciates their work.
Devote a space in your church newsletter as the “Volunteer Corner.” If your church has 52 volunteers, you can recognize one per week in just a year! More volunteers might take a bit longer, or you can double- or triple-up.
Hold a volunteer appreciation banquet. Make it an open and loose invitation: “If you’ve served others at our church in any way during the past year, you’re invited to an appreciation dinner.” Just ask for a head count so you order enough grub.
Thank families of volunteers. Send thank you notes or letters. Or ask them to stand during a church service and thank God for their willingness to allow their family members to spend time away from home to serve God through others and the church.
Pair veteran volunteers with new volunteers. Nothing says “thanks for being so good at what you do” like being asked to teach someone else those duties.
Recruit nonvolunteers to “adopt a volunteer.” Their job is to pray for their volunteer and do one “nice thing” for that person during the upcoming year—deliver a plate of homemade cookies, send flowers, or buy a coffee shop gift certificate.
Enlist a Barnabas. Is there someone in your congregation who gushes with authentic words of praise and encouragement? (Even the smallest of churches typically has a person like this; you’re the pastor—think about who regularly greets you after church with warm and wonderful words about your message or the worship time.) Give this person a small budget and ask him or her to be the official volunteer affirmation provider.
Download The Ultimate Resource for Volunteer Appreciation: Gift Ideas, Volunteer Recognition, and Encouragement in Christian Volunteer Programs from Church Volunteer Central filled with volunteer appreciation gift ideas and tips you can put into practice today!
- RSS Feed