As Children’s & Family Ministry Leaders, we are surrounded (hopefully!) by a team (staff and/or volunteers) committed to accomplishing great things in the lives of, well, children & family. My hope is we have an “attitude of gratitude” year-round. Obviously, however, this time of year highlights the opportunity to say “thanks”. Here are a few ways to say thanks for those who are in the trenches with you:
1. Simply say “thank you”.
Still, by far, the best way to express your gratitude. A genuine, heart-felt “thank you” simply can’t be beat.
2. An act of service based on a true understanding of that person.
Understand what makes that person feel truly appreciated, and serve them by doing it. It might be a pat on the back, a small gift, public recognition, or something else. Serve them by finding out & following through.
3. Handwritten notes.
“Old school”, hand-written, note cards still beat high-tech communication any day of the week…period.
Really, can anything beat a sweet, little morsel of thanks? Especially given to the men you need to thank? I don’t think so.
5. The gift of time.
We are all insanely busy. Can you give your staff a little extra time off? Can you arrange substitute teachers for your volunteers? Or in some other way offer the gift of time and wrap it in gratitude for your team? Time is always appreciated.
6. Public recognition.
Introverts on your team will never ask for it, and they might squirm a little when it happens, but everyone, everywhere appreciates public recognition. A thank you from the pastor, a note in the bulletin, balloons and a sign in the lobby – get creative in how you can say a general (or specific) thanks to your team.
7. Parties & events.
Bringing the team together can communicate thanks on a whole new level. Here are the keys I’ve found to make this successful:
- I need to be involved in the planning (hosting it at my house makes a big statement);
- There needs to be lots of (good!) food;
- It needs to be FUN (generates lots of laughter);
- NO “business” allowed;
- Do everything you can NOT to have the ones invited involved in organizing the event.
With most of your team it is not necessary to offer a gift – they aren’t serving to receive gifts. I have found that, while trinkets are nice, the other ways of saying thank you are more significant & genuine. However, if you have the opportunity to offer a significant gift (personalized or significantly meaningful), it can really say a lot.
9. Purposeful vision.
Yep, it’s true. The single best way to say thanks is to have a clear and compelling vision. When your team has something worthwhile to pursue, and you are constantly talking the language of purposeful vision, it goes beyond saying “thank you” and also communicates that . . .
“. . . you are important, what we are doing is worthwhile, and I couldn’t do it without you…so thank you for making a difference by pursuing this vision with me!”