I recently had an aha moment.
I realized I had made significant personal growth in a particular area of my life. As this sunk in, I physically felt taller, and heard that little voice inside my head say . . . Well done. Good job. It was worth the effort. I felt great.
However a deeper impact came when my husband verbalized the same positive messages. When he said the words I felt proud, positive, stirred up, ready to take on a new challenge!
Celebrating a person’s growth; whether it be increased effort, a job well done, reaching a set goal or their willingness to serve God and others is always worth doing because of this effect. We honor what the person has done but the celebration also acts as a catalyst to build self-belief and impart a desire to take on the next challenge.
So how can we celebrate and honor those who lead in our small group ministry? Here are a few ideas you might like to try.
Share the stories
If a leader is doing something creative or different in their group and it is reaping rewards for group life, talk about it! Whether it’s in a one to one conversation, at a leadership gathering, via social media, in public worship services, the church newsletter or within the larger ministry team/staff – honor them. If possible, get them to share the story themselves!
Gather all your leaders together for a night of celebration. Have it catered or get some other ministry leaders in your church to cater. Celebrate all things small group, but make the small group leaders the special guests for the night. Give out awards. Make it fun.
We did this recently and we gave out a couple of awards. One went to a gentleman who had led a small group for over 50 years, and he had passed the small group love on – his children and grandchildren also lead small groups in our church!
Secret Small Group Business
Activate the group members to write individual notes of appreciation (in secret). Place all the notes in one envelope and send to their group leader.
Academy Awards for Small Group Leaders
I recently read this great idea on the SGN Facebook page about an event Pam Diehl Palmour and her team organized at Copperfield Church.
Group members could enter their leader into particular “Academy Award” categories. Some of these were: The Most Dependable Leader, Most Caring Leader, etc. Then other fun (non-leader) “nominees” were entered to run against them.
For example, the Energizer Bunny was in the running for Most Dependable. When the winner was announced it was always the leader. The whole group came to present the award and speak about why they chose this award for their leader.
Appreciation Gifts, Cards and Notes
Taking the time to write a personal note or give a gift of appreciation can be a powerful encourager, particularly if it comes at an unexpected time. Write to express thanks, to highlight specific growth in a leader’s life, to share a scripture verse or how you have been praying for them in their leadership.
Whenever possible highlight, thank and pray for small group leaders during Sunday worship service.
We can often fall into the trap of connecting with leaders only when we have information to communicate or to ask them to consider doing a particular task. Taking time to simply phone to say hi, to ask how their family is, to hear what is happening in their life is a wonderful gift. Valuing people for who they are and not what they can do is important.
There are many, many more ideas out there . . .
The important thing is to make sure we are intentional about doing something! Because whenever we take the time to celebrate and honor those who lead in our group ministry, we will be growing God’s Kingdom. When leaders feel appreciated, they grow in self-belief and positivity, but God may also use the celebration to spur them on toward the next challenge in their leadership journey.