Need More Volunteers at Your Church? Start Celebrating Them!
Need More Volunteers at Your Church? Start Celebrating Them!
Recognition is more meaningful when it’s personal and genuine. Make it a point to get to know your volunteers and thank them individually for their specific contributions.
I’ll never forget my first time serving at my local church. I was 10, just old enough to be handed the very big responsibility of running the PowerPoint slides during worship. My parents were pastors, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to step up and serve right alongside them.
I’ll also never forget how mortified I was the first time I missed a slide transition. The worship team was belting out the chorus, but the lyrics screen stayed stuck on the bridge. It felt like every person in the congregation turned around to look at me, and I ducked behind the aviation booth computer so no one would see my embarrassment.
For the next few days, I was convinced that my time volunteering at church had come to an end. But then, the following Sunday, a kind, older woman named Meredith approached me. She gave me a warm hug and said, “Was that you running slides last Sunday? I’m so proud of you! You are using your time to serve Jesus, and it makes it a lot easier for us to keep up with these new worship songs.” With that simple piece of encouragement, my embarrassment melted away. I felt valued and appreciated, and I finally believed I was making a real difference. I served faithfully on the slides team for the next three years, and Meredith always remembered to encourage me.
The Power of Recognition
When ministry gets tough, we all need a “Meredith” in our lives. And your volunteers are no exception! They need to know the impact they’re making. They need to know that they are seen and appreciated!
But expressing gratitude to your volunteers does more than just boost their morale. It also signals to other members of your congregation that your church truly values each person’s unique contribution. It shows that your church is a place where people’s God-given talents can contribute to something much bigger than themselves and where their service won’t be taken for granted.
Are you looking for more volunteers at your church? Then the answer is simple! Start by celebrating and championing the individuals who are already contributing their time and energy.
Ready to start celebrating your volunteers? Here are a few ideas on how to get started!
Make it Public
One of the most meaningful ways to honor your volunteers is by publicly acknowledging them on a Sunday. It’s not necessary to mention every volunteer each week, of course, but it is important to strategically point out people who are making a difference. Call people out by name and encourage the congregation to give them applause. Make sure to switch up who you are honoring from week to week so people don’t get missed!
Personalize the Praise
Recognition is more meaningful when it’s personal and genuine. Make it a point to get to know your volunteers and thank them individually for their specific contributions. Did a group of volunteers go above and beyond to organize a community event? Acknowledge their hard work and extra time commitment. Has your sound tech been serving extra hours to ensure services run smoothly? Never underestimate the power of a personalized, handwritten note! Taking the time to express appreciation personally can make a world of difference in maintaining a motivated and committed volunteer team.
Host a Volunteer Appreciation Party
Remember, volunteering at church should be FUN! I’ve been around the church world for decades, and I can affirm that volunteer celebration parties often take a backseat compared to other church events. And trust me, I understand. With so much going on, it’s easy for things to slide down the priority list. Still, I genuinely believe that volunteer appreciation parties are among the most crucial events you can hold at your church! I’m not suggesting a hurried, last-minute pizza gathering, either. Be intentional, and, again, make it fun.
How about a sushi night where volunteers can enjoy a unique meal together? Or maybe a cozy dinner at the pastor’s house with everyone sharing their favorite dish? The aim is to ensure your volunteers feel deeply appreciated as people. It’s also about creating space for your teams to bond, share experiences, and feel love and appreciation poured out on them – away from the routines of their volunteer roles.
When expressing gratitude to your volunteers, it’s essential to highlight specific examples of how their service is making an impact. Rather than simply saying, “Thank you,” emphasize real stories to underline the positive and meaningful influence their contributions have made on the church community. For example, say something like, “Thank you for consistently welcoming new visitors with your warm smile. A new guest shared today that she had initial hesitations about feeling awkward, but meeting you changed her perspective! She’s excited to return next week!” This approach not only makes your gratitude feel more genuine but also reinforces the significance of each volunteer’s role – just as Meredith did for me!
Offer Growth Opportunities
When it comes to their careers, most people want growth opportunities – and volunteering is no different. If someone has been faithfully serving on your kid’s ministry check-in team for two years now, reach out and ask if they want to lead a class! If one of your volunteers has been consistently giving announcements each week, offer them additional communication training for broader speaking roles. Recognizing and supporting the growth potential of your volunteers significantly enhances their connection to your church.
While not everyone will seize these opportunities, many are just waiting for the invitation! Don’t let your volunteers’ gifts and talents remain buried. Unearth them, celebrate them, and watch your church community flourish!
Showing appreciation isn’t a one-time deal, nor is it just a checklist item of good leadership. It’s a rhythm, and it needs to be consistent! It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture, but it does need to be genuine and regular.
So, start today! Express gratitude, highlight achievements, and be the Meredith that your church volunteers need. Over time, this culture of appreciation will become second nature, leading to a happier, more engaged, and more productive volunteer team.
And the happier and healthier your volunteer teams are, the more people in your congregation will want to serve!
Strengthen Your Volunteer Community
Looking for more ways to strengthen your volunteer community? Breeze’s Groups platform allows for streamlined scheduling, effortless communication, and the ability to share important documents and information with ease. This comprehensive ChMS will keep everyone organized and on the same page so you can focus on the ministry right in front of you! Sign up for a free 14-day trial of Breeze by clicking here.
By Breeze Blog|2023-10-05T13:26:46-07:00October 5th, 2023|