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Celebrating volunteers is a crucial piece of any healthy ministry. Whether you are full-time, part-time, or volunteer, as a small group point person, you are overseeing volunteers that are giving their time, skills, and even homes to allow people in your church community a space to be known. So take time to celebrate them and acknowledge their commitment. The question is, when is the best time to celebrate? I’m going to give you the answer up front: ALL THE TIME.
As we start new seasons, most small group point people are thinking about two things: recruitment and training. While those two pieces will be enough to get the season started and your leaders prepared, celebration is what brings energy to your small group ministry. Your leaders/HOSTs may be ready, but are they excited for the season ahead?
- If you have a training or kick-off event, give your leaders a small gift or treat to thank them for stepping up this season.
- Acknowledge continuing leaders, and congratulate groups that have been meeting for 2 or more years.
Once the season starts, celebrating leaders gets tricky. They’re busy, you’re busy, and getting everyone together just adds one more commitment to the week. This is your opportunity to celebrate individuals.
- Send Birthday/Anniversary/Thank You cards to group leaders. Even if you don’t have the budget for gift cards or treats, you’d be surprised by how meaningful a hand-written card can be.
- Give leaders a call or text the day their group meets to encourage them and let them know you’re praying for their meeting.
- Schedule some one-on-one time with your leaders. Whether it’s a quick chat in the lobby on a Sunday or meeting for coffee, these meetings will give you the clearest picture of how your leaders and groups are doing. It will also prevent the assumption that you only meet one-on-one when someone does something wrong.
The end of the season is a natural time for a celebration event. If your church uses a year ‘round, continuous group model, it may be the end of the calendar year or school year. At this point, there are stories to be shared of how groups have served, played, and lived life together. This is the chance to highlight those stories.
- Host a celebration event to highlight stories from the season. Show pictures of groups serving and playing together.
- Spotlight individual groups during weekend services or on social media.
If your groups take a winter or summer break, the off-season is a golden opportunity to celebrate leaders with no strings attached. Do something fun together without any training or announcements and simply let them know how much you appreciate their ministry. Just a few weeks ago, we took all of our small group leaders to a minor league baseball game. We had a blast and hardly talked about groups at all unless it came up in conversation. At the end of the night, we gave them a gift and a save the date for our Fall training. The off season is your chance to show your leaders that you appreciate them as a person and not just as a small group leader. Don’t let it slip by!
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about celebration over the next ministry year. Having celebration as a part of your ministry culture ensures that being a part of small group ministry is a fun and exciting experience for all of your leaders.