Summer is an extremely busy time for children’s ministry. New families visit the church, just about every church member comes to church, and then extended family comes into town as well. Your hard-working volunteers continue to serve faithfully, often taking on added responsibility during these busy times.
What are you doing to thank your volunteers during the busy seasons of your ministry?
We came up with 10 easy ideas for thanking your volunteers during a busy season at church and asked other children’s ministry leaders what they’re doing in their ministries. Here are 15 ideas that you can use to show appreciation for your volunteers:
- Volunteer Breakfast. People always appreciate food. If you put in a little extra work and have a full breakfast available for your volunteers, then you can give them more energy for the morning and make them feel more appreciated. Just make sure you provide plenty of coffee!
- Thank You Cards. Sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do for a volunteer is thank them for a job well done. Take time to write a thank you card to each of your volunteers, giving them praise for at least one specific thing that they do well.
- Gift Mug. If you have room in your budget, then buying coffee mugs for everyone can be a great thank you gift! You can fill up the inside with candy and other fun things.
- Big Smile! During the midst of the busiest Sundays, we all have time to stop for a second, look at a volunteer, and give them a big smile while saying Hi! A simple smile can totally change someone’s day. Why not take the initiative to smile to a few more volunteers and brighten their day?
- Fist Bump. Ok, so this one may depend on your church culture. Whether you do a handshake or a fist bump, you can give someone a small, instant boost of energy through this friendly encounter.
- Dessert Bar. Set up a big table full of sweet treats, and you will become the most popular person around! As a bonus, you can purchase small bags and allow volunteers to take some treats home with them.
- Large Sign. Create a large sign that says “thank you volunteers!” and set it up on a Sunday morning.
- Church Appreciation. The next time that your volunteers will be in a church service, go up front and ask that the volunteers stand up and be recognized for their work, while the church applauds them. If you can, take a moment during the service to invite everyone to pray for a volunteer who is near them.
- Gift Cards. A simple gift card can go a long way in thanking your volunteers. Purchase something that you are certain all of your volunteers will be able to use.
- Volunteer Appreciation Night. I don’t recommend doing this during the busy times of ministry, but plan a time after a busy season to gather your volunteers together for an appreciation night. Provide the food and set up a special program where they can have fun, be encouraged, and build more relationships with each other. They will love it! If you are worried about your volunteers’ schedules, plan the event for immediately after a time when they are serving. Either way, make sure you join in the fun too!
- Honor a volunteer of the week. “Each week we honor one specific volunteer in our church video announcements. That volunteer is the Volunteer of the Week and get they get highlighted on Facebook and a special parking spot with a sign for the next weekend.” -submitted by Dillan Z.
- Kudos. “My favorite thing is to brag on them to the parents in front of them. They always seem to have an extra pep in their step!” -submitted by Jennifer A.
- Get to know them. “I schedule a coffee or lunch date with each individual volunteer sometime during the year. The gift of time and presence is so invaluable!” -submitted by Karen K.
- Pray for them as a church. “In service, we pray for our volunteers.” -submitted by Tiffany E.
- A heartfelt thank you. “At the end of each service I personally go to each classroom and give an eye to eye contact to each leader and tell them thank you for serving today.” -submitted by Doyle E.
Steven Knight has been serving in children’s ministry for 10+ years and is a children’s ministry speaker, author, and consultant. He is blessed to be married to his college sweetheart, Katie. His passion is two-fold: to evangelize and disciple children, and to train and equip children’s ministry leaders, all for the glory of God.