By Chuck Lawless
Most of our churches would be in trouble were it not for volunteers who serve faithfully every week. “Volunteer” is probably not the best word, since legitimate church membership assumes a willingness to serve – but I think we still should recognize those who serve well. Here are some ways to do that:
- Commission them at the beginning of the year. Make a big deal about praying over and supporting volunteers, and you’ll likely have more folks ready to sign up.
- Write thank you notes. Few church members expect a handwritten thank you note from another church leader. Surprise your volunteers by sending a few thank you notes each week.
- Give them a coffee gift certificate. This gift isn’t that expensive, and even non-coffee drinkers can find something to drink or eat.
- Provide child care for a “date night.” Most volunteers will appreciate the opportunity to spend a night out with their spouse.
- Cater a volunteer appreciation meal. The payoff will be worth the expense if you do it well.
- Pray for a “volunteer of the week” each week. Introduce a different volunteer weekly, and pray for him or her publicly.
- Send birthday cards to the volunteers. I’m almost certain the card will be a pleasant surprise, as not many churches do this option.
- Send a “thank you” note to the volunteer’s spouse. Most of us could not do all we do were it not for spouses who support us, walk beside us, and sacrifice for us.
- Celebrate with a volunteer family picnic. Give your volunteers’ families a day of fun and relaxation, and your volunteers will feel affirmed.
- Enlist a photographer to take a family photo for each volunteer. Many families never take the time to take pictures together. Encourage them to do so with this gift.
- Sponsor a “Christmas in July” stocking stuffer event. What’s different is that the stocking is electronic, and the stocking stuffers are emails of appreciation. Imagine receiving dozens of affirmations halfway through the year!
- Call 2-3 volunteers a week. A handwritten note is great, but a phone call could be even better – especially in today’s world where few people use their phone to actually talk! A few verbalized words of appreciation can go a long way.