Look up the definition of the word, “appreciate.” You might find this definition: “To recognize the full worth of.” It’s a definition I recently came across. It made me realize this is a practice that’s desperately needed for our ministry leaders.
Whenever I share my testimony I mention the first small group I was ever in. I was in college and didn’t even know what a small group was. My leader planned each evening, but I didn’t know what went into these experiences. I was quiet in the group, but the impact the group had on my life was pivotal. Looking back, I see my life is completely different now because of the experiences I had in that group.
The problem? I never told anyone about it! I had no clue what was changing at the time. I didn’t know the effort and faith that had resulted in my life change. I never thought to thank anyone because only later could I grasp what happened.
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Pastors are used to appreciating group leaders. It’s a line item for most group life budgets. But small group leaders are humble people that need to be reminded of their “full worth.”
A friend of mine used a great tactic to instill the importance of appreciation. He incentivized small group members to publicly celebrate their leaders.
This church held celebration meals for all the small groups from time to time. They had a tradition to encourage group members sharing cool small group stories. The incentive? If you went up to share a story, your small group leader got a leadership book or other prize. It was a great way to honor what God was doing in communities while also identifying the “full worth” of small group leaders.
What practices are you weaving into your ministry to generate a culture of appreciation? What small changes could create ripples that help others know the impact they are having?