We\’d be lost without our volunteers! There’s little we can do alone compared to what we can do together. Those who answer the call to work with our boys and girls are the true heroes in our ministry. I\’m particularly amazed by those "long-term" heroes… those who volunteer year in and year out.
I\’m reminded of a 3rd grade Bible study class. In this class there are four teachers that have been working together for over 30 years. They are currently teaching children of some of the children they taught in the early years of their volunteer ministry. I\’m amazed at their faithfulness and thankful for the impact they have and have had on the 3rd graders in my church.
I\’m thinking about a friend who teaches in 2nd grade. There’s no doubt whether he will teach next year… he is called by God to teach and believes that God specifically has called him to 2nd graders. This gentleman has influenced several generations and continues to impact boys and girls each week.
I am so excited that I have the privilege of working with Mary. Mary has decided that her ministry is to boys and girls who need to learn and memorize Bible verses, key passages, and Bible skills. She believes that her God given assignment is to coordinate Children’s Bible Drill at our church. So, she continues to volunteer and lead. I\’m thankful that she listens and acts on God’s calling.
What about you? Who in your ministry continues to serve, year after year, in kid’s ministry at your church? I bet you\’ve already identified a volunteer or two that is in it for the "long haul" and serves faithfully. I think it’s time we CELEBRATE these long-term volunteers!
Here’s a few ideas that I\’d challenge you to consider:
Send a personal note of thanks! The art of letter writing may be on the decline, but the act itself is still one of the most appreciated forms of saying thanks out there. Send a note, a card, or even an unexpected email… but share your appreciation in a personal way.
Celebrate publicly! Can you identify a leader in your ministry who may be approaching a significant milestone? Perhaps someone who’s been volunteering for 20, 30, or even 40 years in kids ministry? I think that’s worth noting and worth some public hoopla! Talk with your pastor about an appropriate way for your church to honor long-term volunteers publicly.
Gift cards are nice… and they don\’t even have to be large! Share a $5.00 gift card to a favorite coffee shop or fast food establishment. It really is the thought that counts and your long term volunteers will be thrilled to know that you appreciate them.
What about involving kids and parents? I think it would be neat to coordinate an appreciation campaign that secretly involved the kids and their parents. On a given Sunday parents could work together to provide a special snack or breakfast in honor of a long-term volunteer. Kids could participate by creating appreciation cards to be given.
It’s obvious that these volunteers aren\’t doing what they do for any accolades, thank you notes, or gift cards… but, I know that showing appreciation to these important volunteers is the right thing to do! It sends a message that we love, appreciate, and value the contributions that they have made and continue to make in our ministry.
I\’d love to hear about the long term volunteers in your ministry. Reply to this post with the story of your long term hero and I\’ll give a Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids to your church in honor of the volunteer who has served the longest.
Great piece Bill – a good reminder for us all!
We have a long-term volunteer to children’s ministry that works in our church – Hetty Kyger. Hetty is close to or over 80 years old now – I’m not sure of her exact age and really don’t want to ask :). While Hetty has not always served at the same church or in the exact same capacity over the years, she always faithfully served working with children from baby age and up. Hetty’s late husband, J.B. Kyger was a Southern Baptist preacher for many, many years. I first met Hetty as a child at Sulphur City Baptist Church where my family attended and her husband had been called to preach. She was my Children’s Church teacher. I specifically remember her challenging us to learn the books of the bible – and we did. After a few years God called her husband to a different church and I didn’t see them as much. Many years passed. Some time after Hetty’s husband passed away, Hetty began attending my current church – First Baptist Church of Elkins. Right away she began to volunteer for various roles in children’s ministry. She has difficulty hearing now, but is always willing to do what she can. She is very talented and has helped with sewing and painting for various musical and VBS props/decorations. She faithfully helps each year in VBS, this year working in the Infant Nursery room. She also volunteers each Wednesday night to work in the church Nursery watching children of ladies who attend Bible Study and children of our AWANA workers. We are very thankful for Ms. Hetty and her devotion, passion, and love for God and children. She is truly an example for us all. May we all continue to serve God as she has faithfully done all these years.