Archives For volunteer appreciation

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If you lead a kidmin, then you know that volunteers are the backbone and heartbeat of your ministry.  While we prepare behind the scenes, these faithful servants are on the front lines helping children know and love Jesus week in and week out.  Treasuring and appreciating these folks should always be a priority of ours.  My friends at What’s in the Bible? can help you do just that.

Thank your team courtesy of What’s in the Bible? by entering to win a free breakfast for your team.  Find out more details here.  Hurry – the deadline to enter is Sunday, April 12th!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for fun and inexpensive ideas to appreciate your volunteers, check these out:

15 Ways to Thank Your Children’s Ministry Volunteers

Year-Round Volunteer Appreciation Ideas

I’ve pinned 250+ ideas for volunteer appreciation on Pinterest.  Check it out: https://www.pinterest.com/kathierphillips/kidmin-volunteer-appreciation/

Share with our community! How have you appreciated your volunteers lately?

Years ago, I read “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  The title was fascinating and I wanted to learn more.  Not only did I want to learn how to best show love to my husband, I wanted to learn more about the way I best receive love.  The findings weren’t astonishing – I already knew – but I could give it an “official” title.

If you are not familiar with The 5 Love Languages, allow me to give you a brief description of each:

Words of Affirmation:  Use words to affirm other people.

Acts of Service:  For these people, actions speak louder than words.

Receiving Gifts:  It’s not the price or extravagance of the gift; it’s the thought behind it.

Quality Time:  Give people your focused, undivided attention.

Physical Touch:  Use appropriate touch to lift someone’s spirits

Since the first book, there have been subsequent books, including “The 5 Love Languages of Children”, “The Five Love Languages of Teenagers”, just to name a few.  The author also penned a book called “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace”.  According to their website, this book gives “practical steps to make any workplace environment more encouraging and productive”.

I’d like to offer that as kidmin leaders, one of our goals should be to make our ministry environments more encouraging and productive.  How?  By creatively loving on our volunteers as often as we can.  What if we loved our volunteers in ways that they would best receive it?  What if we moved away from “one size fits all” volunteer appreciation?  After all, if we don’t properly care for our volunteers, who will?

Show your volunteers how much you care by speaking their love language.  Below are a few ideas to help get you started:

Words of Affirmation:  

  • Praise your volunteers publicly, in front of other people.
  • Write notes to them, affirming them in how they are an invaluable member of your team.
  • Write notes to their family, thanking them for sharing their family member with your ministry and the impact they are having.
  • Catch them in the act and mention to them how they made the right call, gently spoke to a child, made the Bible story come alive, etc.

Resource:  DaySpring provides free e-cards you can send to your volunteers to let them know how much you care.

Acts of Service:  

  • Take them a meal when they are sick, have a baby, etc.
  • Offer to babysit volunteer’s children so that your volunteer can enjoy a date night with their spouse, a day of pampering, or a day of solitude with the Lord.
  • Run an errand for them.
  • Prepare their supplies for an upcoming lesson.
  • Love them enough to give them the Sunday off when needed.

Resource:  Make a coupon book for volunteers for them to use in redeeming “services” (with advance notice, of course!).

Receiving Gifts:  

  • Give volunteers their favorite piece of candy, a gift card to their favorite restaurant or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.
  • Frame their favorite scripture verse in a beautiful picture frame.
  • Put together an electronic photo album, showcasing your volunteer in action.  (I love Smilebox.)
  • Frame a picture of your volunteer in action.
  • Frame a picture of your volunteer’s class or team.
  • Have the volunteer’s make a handmade gift.

Resource:  Find out your volunteer’s “Favorite Things” by asking them.  Here’s a free form to get you started.

Quality Time:  

*Disclaimer:  Keep appropriate boundaries when interacting with someone of the opposite sex.

  • Take your volunteers out for coffee or meal just to chat and get to know each other outside of church.
  • Call your volunteer and ask how you can pray for them.  Pray for them right over the phone.
  • If you share a hobby with a volunteer, do that hobby together – bake cookies, go fishing, take a class, paint a room, plant a garden, etc.
  • Serve together in a cause that you’re passionate about.
  • Read a book together and discuss it.

Resource:  Subscribe to websites like Groupon or Living Social – they have great discounted goods and services.

Physical Touch:

*Disclaimer:  Use appropriate touch, especially toward the opposite sex.  I am a hugger by nature, but a rule of thumb that I follow is that I do not hug my male volunteers.  I have a completely hands-off policy for male volunteers.

  • Give a hug to a hurting volunteer of the same gender.
  • You could also give fist bumps, a high-five or a special handshake.

Brainstorm additional ideas to help each volunteer feel loved and appreciated in ways that would mean the most to them.

What ideas would you add to the list?  Share them with me below!

Wise kidmin leaders know that volunteers are the heartbeat of our ministries.  We simply cannot do ministry without them.  Celebrating these faithful servants should happen regularly throughout the year but Valentine’s Day is a great time to shower them with love.

This year, our team selected this flip book from Christian Tools of Affirmation (CTA) to show our volunteers how much we appreciate them.  We’ll have them available each week throughout the month of February (some of our volunteers only serve once a month, so we didn’t want to overlook anyone.)

In addition, we will do other special appreciation gestures such as special sweet treats and a hot chocolate bar throughout the month of February.

If you’re undecided on how to honor your ministry volunteers this Valentine’s Day, you still have time to pull together a small token of appreciation.  Pinterest is a great place to find ideas.  To help you out, here are a few of my favorite ideas from the popular website.  Most are relatively inexpensive and easy to assemble.

From iheartnaptime

Valentine Treats - Starburst

From Orange Blogs

From gift cards, to plants, to food & candy, these 10 ideas are easy, heartfelt and budget-friendly.

Valentine Treat - Orange Blogs

Additional ideas from Orange can be round here.

From LifeWay Kids Ministry 101

Five free printable labels to accompany various pre-packaged candies.

Valentine Treats - labels

From Love The Day

If your volunteers love donut holes as much as ours do, you’ll definitely want this printable to attach to the sweet treats.

Valentine Treats - Donut Hole printable

From hersheys.com

Who doesn’t love chocolate from Valentine’s Day?  Collect small fabric bags with ribbon drawstrings. Let your students fill each bag with chocolate Hershey Hearts and pull the drawstring (or tie the bag with a ribbon). Have the children make small cards that say, “Hugs to you, our wonderful volunteer.” Punch a hole in the corner of each card. Help the child tie the card to the ribbon. Present the candy bags to your volunteers with a word of thanks.

Valentine Treats - Hersheys

From Group Publishing

This keepsake book for volunteers and teachers weaves encouragement, uplifting Scripture, real stories, and more into a gift that’ll warm their souls—and help keep their enthusiasm for introducing kids to Jesus going strong.

Valentine Treats - Group Pub Book

For even more ideas, be sure to check out my Valentine’s Pinterest Board!

How are you celebrating your volunteers for Valentine’s Day?  Let me know by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page!