Affirmations are to the soul, as sunshine and rain are to flowers – absolutely essential!
AFFIRM (verb | af·firm | \ ə-ˈfərm \) definition: to state or assert positively; maintain to be true; from the Latin verb affirmare which means to strengthen, build up, make firm
1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 – Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you brethren, that you appreciate those that diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instructions and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo Buscaglia
The month of October is a time for us to spend some time intentionally honoring our church staff. We may think we are honoring mere men and women, without necessarily acknowledging that they are chosen by God, and represent an important part of God’s plan to encourage us to seek the things of God. As we honor our church staff, we are actually honoring God.
Here are some suggestions for how you might choose to show your appreciation to our church staff (and more widely, to anyone who has blessed or encouraged you in your faith journey this year)
- a meaningful scripture passage
- a book title (or the book itself) that will enourage them in their personal growth and walk with God (use the bookmarks from the bulletin board in the sanctuary)
- a prayer that you’ve written for them
- a compliment
- your hospitality
- a sincere note with specific reasons you appreciate their spiritual leadership, dedication, time and commitment or some way that the person has positively impacted you. If you take time and care to craft the perfect message of appreciation/affirmation, why not write it nicely by hand in a lovely card and send it by mail, drop in the mailbox or hand deliver
- give the spouse/family a shout out – Thanking the spouse and family for all that they do to support the staff member and God’s church helps them to see that their sacrifices matter too, whether it's missed family events due to church-related evening or weekend commitments, or rarely ever getting to go away for Christmas or Easter (or honestly, most Sundays)
- child care – you can offer to say thank you by helping to watch their children while they have a night out or a getaway weekend.
- A lagniappe (small inexpensive gift). Little things like a flower, an origami crane, a hand-drawn doodle, a smiley face on a Post-It or other small gestures can make a big difference.
- your unique gifts to affirm God’s servants: meals, handcrafts, small gifts, bouquets of flowers or balloons, personal poetry.
- gift certificates – This can range anywhere from restaurants to bookstores to movie tickets; the possibilities are endless
- use regular, tangible acts of encouragement (such as simple cards or notes) all year long; Love God’s Servants as Jesus loves them, and show it.
- consistently and intentionally
- use the Praying for your Pastor guide as a way to pray effectively in a variety of ways. (Paper copies available on the bulletin board).
- this may not seem like much of a thank you, but there is no greater way to support your pastors and staff and encourage or appreciate them than forming a prayer group that prays regularly for them and their family. This can also be done as a group during a prayer meeting/breakfast or a special night of prayer.
This is by no means an exhaustive list ~ the internet is full of great ideas. Use your imagination, have fun and let God work through you to bless His Servants.
Thanks from UBC Council