Saying “Thank you!” to your church volunteers and helping them to feel valued and motivated is one of the most worthwhile things you can do.
Your church volunteers are the unsung heroes of your church and the lifeblood of your ministry.
Volunteers often give their time, energy and skills because they are passionate about the mission of the church.
They see and believe in the vision and, more importantly, they believe in you as the leader enough to believe that you can take the church there.
If you want to find out how to get people motivated to step up and volunteer in your church, read 7 Surefire Ways To Get People To Volunteer In Your Church.
‘Thank you’ are two words sometimes we don’t say enough. These two powerful words can encourage your volunteers and increase loyalty.
Happy, motivated volunteers will only attract more volunteers.
“What gets rewarded gets repeated.”
So let’s dive right in – today we’re talking about those hardworking and faithful church volunteers who have served your church with all of their hearts.
I want to share with you 30 special ways you can show your appreciation and say ‘Thank you!‘ to your church volunteers.
1. Send A Hand-Written Thank You Note
Despite the digital age, hand-written notes or cards will always be one of the simplest and best ways to say ‘Thank you’ because it’s different and more personal.
Looking for some thank you cards to use?
2. Applaud Your Church Volunteers Publicly
Surprise them this Sunday – choose a kid’s church worker, cleaner, administrator or tea maker and bring them out to the front in your main service.
Have everyone stand and applaud them for all their hard work. They will beam with pride and work even harder in the future.
3. Give Them The Gift Of Your Time
Offer to take at least one church volunteer a week out every week for coffee and a tête-à-tête. Thank them and get to know them better.
Many volunteers are motivated by their drive for influence. They may have started volunteering for your church because they have great ideas and want the opportunity to share them.
Grant them that opportunity.
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4. Constantly Brag About How Great They Are
Take any opportunity, during your sermon or at any other time to brag about how amazing your volunteers are.
Tell a personal story about how they’ve impacted someone’s life and show them off.
5. Write & Post A Personal Letter
Hand-written communication will never be out of date.
It”s a small, low-cost gesture, but it means a lot. Why? Because it was intentional and personal.
Here’s a Volunteer Letter of Thanks template you can use.
Why not make it your goal to post one a week for someone who has gone the extra mile?
6. Contact Your Local Newspaper
Send out a press release to your community paper celebrating your team when they do something “above and beyond” to show the difference they are making in your local community.
Not only is this great (and free) publicity for your church, it will boost morale.
7. Value Your Volunteer’s Time
Thank your church volunteers by making sure there is enough work for volunteers to do when they arrive.
If someone has put aside their time to serve your church – don’t waste their time!
8. Remember Their Birthdays
If you don’t have a record of your church volunteers birthdays, make one.
Make use of the milestone to show your appreciation and thanks.
Surprise and delight volunteers with a birthday card, or give them a shout out on Facebook to show you’re thinking of them.
9. Send Them A Christmas Card
Don’t forget Christmas cards either. Post them and their family a hand-signed Christmas card.
Maybe give them a little gift too -it doesn’t have to be expensive, just a token of your appreciation.
10. Simply Say Thank You This Sunday
Visit every service area that you are responsible for this Sunday and say thank you to your volunteers for a job well done.
However busy you may be never underestimate the powerful impact a simple word of thanks or encouragement makes.
11. Listen To Their Ideas
At the end of every “shift” either you or the relevant dept. leader can have a debriefing session.
Ask them, “What did we do well and what can we improve next time?“
Take time to hear what your church volunteers think could be improved on for the future. Give them the respect of your ear – volunteers can be a wealth of great ideas.
12. Give Them A Team T-Shirt
Make them feel like a valued member of your team with a clearly branded volunteer T-shirt of your church or relevant ministry area.
This has the added bonus of your church staff being clearly visible, especially for first-time guests.
13. Give Your Volunteers More Responsibility
Allow some volunteers to gain more influence and take on more responsibility.
Nothing says I appreciate you more than giving them more of your trust (if they’re ready for it).
Speaking from personal experience, there’s nothing worse than being given the responsibility to do something without the authority to go along with it. Trust them.
14. Thank Your Church Volunteers By Supporting Them Personally
Get to know what’s happening in your volunteer’s personal lives.
Look for ways to spend some time with them and learn about who they are and about their lives. Where do they work? Who makes up their family? Ask about upcoming holidays.
Volunteers work for you because they believe in you and your cause. Show supporters you believe in them, too.
Cheer on a volunteer who’s running a marathon. Be in the audience when your volunteer delivers that big speech they told you about.
Showing you care about them indicates you’re interested in them personally and not just because they ‘fill a gap’.
“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.
I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.“
15. Treat Your Church Volunteers As Paid Staff
Don’t discriminate between your paid staff and volunteers. Reinforce regularly with your paid staff members that our primary role is to support our volunteers.
Appreciate your volunteers by never allowing an ‘us and them’ mentally to breed in your church. Volunteers and paid staff are both to be treated with the respect they deserve.
16. Take Photos & Post On Social Media
This is a great way to show your gratitude than publicly thanking them through your church Facebook page or Twitter account.
Take lots of photos and tag them.
Your volunteers are normally very proud about what they do and will love the fact you’re celebrating their work.
17. Let Them Have A Say
It’s likely that your volunteers know more about a certain department than you do.
Don’t impose new policies and procedures without at least talking them through with your volunteer team.
Any changes that directly involve them or their department should be discussed prior to making a church-wide announcement.
Don’t let your Sunday school teacher hear about important changes being made to the Sunday school through someone else.
There’s nothing more demotivating than doing all the work but not having a voice.
18. Give Your Volunteers The Best Tools For The Job
Your church volunteers understand you might not have truck loads of money for ministry but the very least we can do to thank and appreciate our volunteers is to make sure have the best equipment you can afford for them to work with.
19. Write Reference Letters For Volunteer Students
Don’t forget that volunteering for any area within the church looks great on a CV or resume. If you didn’t realise that, you’re being too humble.
Offer to be a reference, or write a recommendation for connections on LinkedIn.
20. Say Thank You By Giving Them Books
Buy ten leadership books that have impacted you and give them to ten volunteers who have gone above and beyond recently.
Investing into your volunteers has the added bonus of helping them reaching their full leadership potential which can only in turn benefit the whole church.
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21. Invite Your Volunteers Into Your Inner-Circle
Make sure your volunteers are the first to know about exciting things happening in the future of their church.
You could get all your volunteers together once a month, update them on some important changes coming up and give a lesson on leadership.
Your volunteers will feel valued as they are in the ‘inner circle’.
People who are not currently volunteering in your church will wonder what they are missing out on and will want to step up and serve.
22. Value Volunteers By Not Making Them Pay
Show your appreciation by making sure your church volunteers are never out-of-pocket.
However small, insist that the church reimburse them for any out-of-pocket expenses.
23. Thank Volunteers By Providing Refreshments
Have good tea and biscuits available when they arrive.
Better still, you could make a meal available for them before, or after they serve.
24. Celebrate Church Volunteer Appreciation Day
Once a year go all out, treat your volunteers like guests of honour and make this a highlight of your church calendar.
Choose an interesting theme, pick a colour scheme, make it memorable and fun.
This is the time for your volunteers not to serve but to be served by your pastors and paid staff.
Take lots of photos, get them out on Facebook and show off your volunteers all dressed up and having a great time.
You’ll probably never have to beg people to step and serve ever again.
Baudville.com have great party and theme ideas, excellent resources and step by step checklists on everything to do with organising appreciation days.
25. Hold An Awards Ceremony
Perhaps you could incorporate this in your volunteer appreciation day.
At our church we hold an annual “Love Night” and lavish love and appreciation on anyone who serves.
There is no better way to thank your church volunteers than celebrating the successes of the past 12 months.
How many years has a volunteer served? Celebrate that!
Someone done something extraordinary? Applaud them!
Present them with certificates as a way of recognising their efforts throughout the year.
Here are some great certificate options.
26. Thank Volunteers By Giving Them A Way Out
Don’t make volunteering in your church a life sentence.
Give people a way out. Maybe they sign up for 6 or 12 months and review from there.
This demonstrates to your church members and would-be volunteers that deciding to step up and serve in the church does not a life-sentence.
27. Pray For Your Church Volunteers
Then let them know you prayed for them that day by simply sending text or email and encourage them with a scripture verse.
28. Show Them How They Fit Into The Big Picture
No matter how small or insignificant a task may seem, every volunteer must see how their ministry connects to the vision of the church – changed lives.
Remind them regularly how they’re making a difference and you’ll have teams of motivated volunteers willing to put their time and energy behind building God’s Kingdom.
“You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.“
29. Pay For Their Training
Investing in a volunteer’s personal growth is a high level of appreciation.
Children’s church workshops, worship leader training, youth pastor’s seminars – whatever it is, invest into your volunteer’s development.
You will reap the rewards for years to come.
Here are some Volunteer Huddle Talks you can use.
You cannot expect volunteers to deliver quality ministry without some intentional training and team building.
Provide the necessary resources in order for volunteers to be effective in their roles, as well as transferring attitudes, competencies and knowledge.
30. Just Say “Thank You!” To Your Church Volunteers
Thank God for your volunteers, but don’t forget to thank your volunteers. Ooze encouragement and genuine appreciation every time you come into contact with them.
Say “thank you” often and most important of all – mean it.
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What’s Your Take?
Got any creative ideas that aren’t on this list?
How do you thank your church volunteers?
Leave your comment below 🙏