Volunteers are the lifeblood of the church.
Have you ever took a moment to consider what your ministry would look like without them? You would be a one-man band, there would be no child care, there would be no host team to greet visitors, and all of your production gear would just sit there unable to amplify your voice, throw lyrics on the screens, or set the mood with lighting. Without volunteers there would be no ministry.
Unfortunately, it's really easy to take volunteers for granted, especially the most reliable ones who serve every single week. As mundane as it may seem, some of the most valuable work you can do as a leader is show your appreciation for your volunteers in small but tangible ways. Make it a part of your weekly work schedule to reach out to at least two or three them with kind gestures of appreciation. Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with ideas for what to do, so here are 5 ways you can love a volunteer that do not require much effort or time.
Thank them after every service - This is probably the easiest way to show appreciation. After your volunteers have slaved away for you for two or more hours on Sunday morning, try to tell them thank you before they leave. You don’t have to say much, just a “Thanks for your time and the great job you did…”
Write a thank you note - Order a pack of thank you cards and some stamps and send them an old-school handwritten letter. You could also write them a thank you note via email, but my guess is people have a greater appreciation for taking the time to write it by hand. Leave the box of thank you cards on your desk or some place where you’ll see them regularly and be reminded to use them.
Take them to coffee or lunch - This cost money, but try to have funds allocated in your ministry budget to do this. Spending time to get to know your volunteers outside of church at a local restaurant or coffee shop will really go a long way in showing appreciation for them and building trust. If the volunteer is the opposite sex, I highly recommend inviting their spouse, or bring along your spouse. Just make sure you are never in questionable situations.
Brag about them on social media - Find creative ways to share how awesome they are on social media. Take photos of them while they are serving at church and then post them on Facebook or Instagram and write some sort of caption that talks about how awesome they are.
Ask how you can pray for them, pray for them, and tell them you’re praying for them. Go out of your way to ask them how you can pray for them, record those things in a format so you can recall them later, and make it a part of your weekly routine to pray for them. If you do the other four things in this list and develop a meaningful friendship with your volunteers, I think you’ll find praying for them something you look forward to doing.
I’m sure there are a billion other creative ways to show appreciation for your volunteers. What else would you add to this list?