Lead Volunteers: Simply Say Thanks
A Simple Phrase
It blows my mind how many leaders don’t understand the value of appreciation. Appreciation can come in many forms, but I want to speak right now to simply saying thank you. It’s a simple phrase that we were taught at a very young age — thank you. Over the years, I have been completely blown away at the power of that simple phrase.
When I first started in children’s ministry there was a team of weary, burned out, and cranky volunteers that I inherited. They were frustrated, some were furious, and some were simply fed up and wanted to quit.
When I took the job I made it a personal challenge to handwrite a thank you note to every single person serving at every single layer of the ministry. I did this by creating thank you cards, printing off scores of address labels, and then writing two postcards a week until the job was done.
Together with my team, we would systematically reach out and send handwritten thank you cards to all volunteers and even to our church elders.
Interestingly enough, I came back to my office one day and had a voicemail. The message was from a key volunteer who, in the past, had been crabby and rather caustic at times. When I heard her state her name, I cringed. I wondered what sort of attack she may be bringing, and I was bracing myself for her attack. However, she burst into tears of thanksgiving and joy. She said “In all of my years of serving in children’s ministry, no one has ever said thank you to me. I received your postcard. Thank you so much for taking the time to simply say thank you.”
Her statement claiming that no one had ever said thanks to her may or may not have been true. But quite possibly no one had ever said thanks to her in a way that mattered to her or that reached her heart.
Can I give you a challenge? You may think that sending a handwritten postcard is a lofty goal and that might be. Could I encourage you to consider calling someone who served in your ministry area last week and simply say thank you to them? Call them for a reason other than to recruit or to require something of them. What if you made a phone call that merely said “thanks.”
The power of thanks is an untold blessing. Remember those words that we were taught as young kids. Simply say thank you.