I love Thanksgiving! In the midst of the busiest season of my life (growing responsibility at work coupled with raising two teenage boys being the primary culprits), this is a time when I always try to lift my foot off the gas, spend time with my loved ones and focus only on how grateful I am for them.
As a church leader, I am sure that you are thankful for your family as much as I am. I also know that you are probably thankful for all the people in your church who help you get things done and do ministry. How are your showing that gratitude for them? Do you send a generic email or simply say 'thank you' during the announcements on Sunday? While those are good ideas, do you really feel that will make the people that bring life to your church feel appreciated?
Think about it this way — how would you feel if you spent a few hours a week helping a friend or supporting them financially and they never reacted with anything but a simple 'thanks'? Not sure about you, but I would hope that this friend would also be willing to invest in me once in awhile. So, how can we do that in the church?
A System For Thanking Your Members
Creating a culture where church your church members really feel appreciated is a process. You aren’t going to be able to look people into eye and make them really understand how grateful you are for their support without a system in place.
It all starts at the top. Creating a culture of gratitude in your church starts with the way you interact with your staff. A spirit of thanksgiving should be present in any staff meeting, no matter how dire the circumstances. Highlight staff members when they do things well. Don’t just let people hear you say what’s not working. Make sure your staff knows you see their successes, too.
It’s only as successful as what you know. Whether it’s a volunteer who’s been serving at your church for the past 15 years or a first-time giver, your ability to genuinely thank your members depends on how much you know. That’s where your church management software comes in. Technology helps you stay connected to your leaders personally by helping you keep track of everything that’s going on in their lives. It’s more than having access to their names, it’s about having access to their lives.
It’s a multiplying movement. Unless you’re a church of 50, it’s impossible for the senior pastor to make everyone feel adequately appreciated. Your staff needs to be just as invested in thanking their volunteer leaders in a personal way. Your volunteer leaders need to know the importance of thanking their teams. If your staff and volunteer leaders don’t know how to utilize your church management software to its full capacity, you’ll never be able to create a system for making everyone feel valued.
You never want to come across like you’re taking your church members for granted. While actively serving and being generous is part of being a growing disciple of Christ, we should never make it an assumption. Part of guiding people into deeper community and faith is celebrating their involvement and success along the way. When you have a centralized system, you can say thank you in a special way, especially your volunteers, small group leaders, and givers.
How are you thanking your church members in a way that’s personal and meaningful?