This is the season of Thanks and a huge part of the success of any church or ministry is the people that help move the organization forward. It’s important as a leader that you develop a pattern of thankfulness in your congregation. This starts with you and your leadership team. Make it a point during this season to extend a meaningful gesture or word of affirmation to those who work alongside you for the sake of the Gospel. With this in mind, we gathered 5 ways you can say thanks to your leadership team.
We’ve all been in that meeting. You know, the one when everyone gets the exact same gift. While grateful for the gesture, we know the reality is that someone wanted to make sure that no one person felt left out, so their best idea was to get everyone the exact same thing. No matter the gift, big or small, we all know that it’s the thought that counts. Personalized gifts are a great way to let people know that you care and that you were thinking of them. We know trying to find something that makes people feel special can be hard. But If you can’t think of something for the person, then talk to someone who knows them better than you. Even the thought of talking to someone else to get a good gift idea communicates intentionality and care. If you do feel obliged to get everyone the same thing, a little personalization can go a long way. For example, if you are saying thanks with a gift card, get it for a restaurant they’ve been talking about non-stop. Or try getting one for a store that you know would be helpful to them, ex. Home Depot if they are remodeling their home, or the theater if they are a movie buff. Then put it in a card that tells them why you bought it for them. These little touches can make even a gift card more meaningful.
We all love to do something we’ve never done before. It’s the rush of trying something new. This can be a great team building experience to take your team on an excursion together to try something new. Maybe it’s a ropes course, professional go-karts, or an immersive art experience. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, play the game “never have I ever” at a next meeting to learn about things that people have never done before. Use those ideas to plan a team “thank you” excursion. It says a lot to someone that you want them to experience something they never have before, it says even more that you want to experience it with them! Sure you may have some that are timid or cannot participate for one reason or another, but what better to make a memory by helping them associate that unique experience as a memorable thank you from their boss.
As a busy entrepreneur, pastor, and parent of four, I cherish the date nights I have with my wife. Investing in a person and the relationships that are important to them is a great way to make a gift more meaningful. It says “we care enough about you to care about those you love”. It’s also a way of recognizing that people have a life, or should have a life, outside of church. Ministry can take a toll on relationships and often it’s those relationships/friendships we have outside of the church that give us the energy to keep fighting the good fight. What a better way to say “thanks!” than to help people grow in the relationships they have that are lifegiving. If you have team members that aren’t married, try giving them a guys or girls night out with other team members at the church. Time is the key element here. Specifically time away with others.
In a similar vein as the previous tip, giving someone time off is a great way to make sure they don’t get burnt out. We’re not talking about just one or two days, but rather an extended 3 days or more. While just giving them some extra time off is a great way to say thanks, what does one better is making sure they have the freedom to take that time off. Go the extra mile to help them line up people to fill their spot, or offer to do it yourself so they can get away. Also, encourage them to take it and make the most of it. Be persistent about asking them if they’ve taken their extra time off yet. Leaders that spend regular times “away” are the least likely to get burned out and leave ministry. Jesus modeled this in his own ministry often. With extra time off you’ll be investing in keeping your team members happy and healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.The huge smile on their faces will be all the evidence you need to know you just made their day. Try it!
Words have power. They can make people feel seen and heard or make them feel like no one cares about them. Finding the right time and right words to say can be difficult but timed and said correctly, they can be the most impactful. It’s important to each of us that we feel that the work we are doing matters and that others notice the effort we are putting into something. So a specific and sincere thank you can be better than any gift card. It’s important to not just say thank you, but to let people know what specifically you are thankful for. Was it a job well done? Was it extra time they put into a church event to make it extra special? or maybe it was a moment they took to minister to someone that was being overlooked. Make note of the thing they did so you can tell them how much you appreciated it and how it made a difference.
Finally, thank you’s have the most impact when they are…
We hit on these in our ideas above but just thought we needed to list them. The more of these attributes you can put into your thank you the more impactful it will be. So as you make this season of thanksgiving, remember to show some love to those around you. It will help grow you and them as a leader.