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Need some fresh appreciation ideas? Kathie Phillips gives 18 great ones.

If you’re like me, you know how important volunteers are to Children’s Ministry.  It is a true partnership: we cannot accomplish the work of our ministry without our dedicated volunteers; they cannot effectively accomplish the work of our ministry without a leader at the helm.

When I think about the volunteers who serve in my ministry, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for each and every one of them.  In an age when people are busier than ever, the thought that people choose to serve week in and week out humbles me so very much.  Many of my volunteers are parents themselves; that means long nights up with a sick baby or child, carpooling, sports, volunteering at school, extra-curricular activities, and homework.  Some of our volunteers travel for work, sometimes for weeks at a time.  Some of our volunteers have spouses who travel a great deal for work.  Some are single parents who are juggling many, many balls.  Some have health challenges.  Some are caring for elderly or sick parents.  Some are looking for work or have a spouse who is looking for work.

As often as I can, I let my volunteers know how much I appreciate them.  I cherish them.  Next week (April 21 – April 27) is being recognized as “Volunteer Appreciation Week”.  Those who work alongside volunteers – schools, non-profits, etc. – will be expressing their appreciation to people who are the backbone of their organization.

I am one who believes that showing our volunteers how much they mean to us should not be limited to a one-week time frame.  We should let them know how much they mean to us as often as we can.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top but it should be genuine, personal and regular.

If you are in need of creative, inexpensive (and some free!) ideas to show your volunteers how much they mean to you, here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Pray for you volunteers and follow up with them
  • Donuts and coffee
  • Carnation or rose with a hand-written note attached
  • Video from you, thanking them for their service to your ministry
  • Video from the kids in your ministry, thanking their teachers
  • God-sighting wall that displays ways that kids, families and your ministry have been impacted by their service
  • Favorite candy bar
  • Breakfast or luncheon in their honor (have kids and/or parents serve)
  • Buttons to wear
  • Decorate their classroom with streamers, balloons, noisemakers and party hats
  • Thank you cards from the kids
  • Social media “shout out”
  • “Shout Out” in your church bulletin
  • Note on the windshield of their car
  • Special song or poem
  • Items personalized with your ministry logo (t-shirt, backpack, coffee mug, water bottle, lanyard, hat, etc.)
  • A Saturday or Sunday free of ministry responsibilities
  • Balloon bouquet

You can also find more ideas on my KidMin – Volunteers Pinterest board.

You might also be interested in a previous post, Speak Your Volunteer’s Love Language, that offers additional ideas.  My kidmin blogging friend, Lindsey Whitney, shared a gift idea that she recently blessed her volunteers with.  You can find that here.  

Kathie Philips Kathie Phillips felt called to children’s ministry at the age of 13. She is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to overseeing Route 45 (Preteen Ministry for 4th & 5th graders), she also oversees The Treehouse (for 1st – 3rd graders). Married to Lance and mom to Daniel and Kennedy, Kathie shares practical tips and inspiration for kidmin leaders each week on her blog, KidMinspiration.com.

More from Kathie Philips or visit Kathie at http://www.kidminspiration.com

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  • Lindsey Whitney

    Thanks for the mention, Kathie — great article!

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