Because this is Thanksgiving week, it seems appropriate to consider ways to say “thanks” to two kinds of people: Bible study group leaders and members of those groups. Some of you are responsible for your church’s overall groups ministry – you’re the Minister of Education, Discipleship Pastor, GROW Pastor, or some other term (same job!). Others of you are responsible for just one group like I am – you’re a Sunday School teacher, small group leader, or some other term you are known by (same job!). Here are 3 ways that each person can say “thanks” to the people they lead.
Church staff leaders (responsible for the overall ministry). Say thanks to the men and women who lead Bible study groups by doing one or more of the following:
- Write a note – In this fast-paced electronic world, hand-written notes are more and more valuable because of the time and effort to create them. When you catch a group leader doing something good, make a mental note to craft a hand-written note and let them know you’re thankful for their ministry, and the good thing you caught them doing.
- Provide a small gift – A $5 or $10 gift card to a group leader’s favorite coffee joint, restaurant, or bookstore is a nice surprise. Sometimes a tangible “thank you” appeals to some leader’s “love language” of gifts.
- Give them a break – Some group leaders who teach children and students would enjoy a day where they could attend an adult Bible study group again – even if it’s just one day. Consider arranging for a substitute teacher for them – or teach their group yourself – and let those busy teachers who seldom get any “adult time” to reconnect with the group that launched them into service as “missionaries to kids.”
Sunday School and small group leaders. Say thanks to the members of your group by doing one or more of the following:
- Brag on them in front of other group members – Phrases like, “I really appreciate Bob teaching for me last week – I heard he did a super job!” and “I really like the way Sherry is so friendly to the guests who come to our group” can be ways to publicly acknowledge people for acts of service they perform on the group’s behalf. It costs zero dollars to make someone feel good by using words to compliment them!
- Write a note – it’s the same idea as above – people value hand-crafted notes because of the time and effort that goes into making them.
- Thank the Lord for them…and let them know you’re praying – Don’t forget to thank the Lord for your group members. Without them, you wouldn’t have a group! You volunteer to lead them as their group member, but remember that they volunteer to be members of your group – they don’t have to be there. And after you pray for them, let them know you are talking to your Heavenly Father about them and your thankfulness for them.