By Gail Marsh
Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 23–29)
- One essential way to support your volunteers is to pray for them. CTA offers a FREE, downloadable prayer guide that will help you to do just that! Take a look and see for yourself. Then, distribute it to your staff and worshippers!
- Give your volunteers a voice this year. Invite them to share their personal experiences on your church website or in your newsletter. Remember to include testimonials from all types of volunteers - teen babysitters to ushers to retired adults who visit homebound members. This type of publicity will let everyone know about the ministry’s wide range of volunteer opportunities and it may even encourage greater volunteer participation within your church family.
- Give each of your volunteers one of CTA’s Shaped to Serve devotional booklets at your next planning meeting. Be prepared to mention specific ways each volunteer has contributed to your efforts and thank the Lord for your volunteers in prayer.
- Honor your volunteers at an upcoming worship service. Check out CTA’s FREE downloadables in the theme With Heartfelt Thanks. As people arrive, encourage all volunteers to wear a nametag that lists their area of service. You can also hand out bottles of water featuring the theme’s logo. Modify the FREE Ministry Message to fit your congregation, and after the service, serve cupcakes or other treats as an expression of thanks to all of your volunteers.
- Invite volunteers from all of your church organizations to compile a wish list - things that can help them be more effective in ministry. Post individual wish list items on a hallway bulletin board and encourage ministry members to select and purchase the supplies.
Administrative Professionals Day (April 26)
- This year, think about expanding your gratitude by saying thanks to your support staff more often: after an especially difficult project is completed, take your staff out to lunch or offer paid time off; take time to listen and pray with staff members on a daily basis; remember and celebrate important staff milestones like birthdays, graduations, work anniversaries, and more.
- Invite worshippers to send thank-you cards and e-mails to your support staff. Provide addresses well in advance of April 26 and ask well-wishers to time their messages of thanks to arrive on or near that day.
- CTA’s website gives you more than ten themes to choose from when thanking workers within your ministry. Suggest that each of your Bible study groups purchase one item from a theme that you select. Gather all of the purchased items together into a festive gift basket and present it to the church staff after your weekly worship service.
Teacher Appreciation Week (May 1–5)
- Encourage your day-school teachers with an afternoon surprise—ice cream sundaes for everyone! As they enjoy the treat, take time to recognize each teacher individually. Mention the length of service and personal strengths of each teacher. Then, present each teacher with an uplifting encouragement book from Reaching by Teaching.
- Gather appreciative parents to assemble treats for your teachers. For quick and inexpensive goodies, check out this website that lists 101 ideas!
- Education World has 65 ideas for encouraging and appreciating teachers all through the year. Many of these ideas can be easily adapted to fit your church school or Sunday school teachers. Share the load by inviting grateful parents, church members, or other support staff to help you honor and appreciate your teachers throughout the year.
- Invite students to design and create a “We Love Our Teachers” banner and display it in your welcome area during Teacher Appreciation Week.
National Day of Prayer (May 4)
- Take this year’s National Day of Prayer celebration on the road. Station prayer volunteers at city intersections, mall entrances, and highway rest stops. Post signs encouraging passersby to stop for a brief moment of prayer. Give each participant one of CTA’s meaningful prayer-themed gifts.
- Host a prayer breakfast for your community. Pull out all the stops or simply offer pastries and coffee. Set the tone for the day by playing prayer-themed music and give one of CTA’s Praying for Our Nation bookmarks to everyone who attends.
- The official website for the National Day of Prayer offers several free resources for small groups of all ages. Check them out here.
Mother’s Day (May 14)
- Offer a tribute to moms before your worship begins. Worship House Media offers a wonderful mini movie In Her Steps that will evoke gratitude in those with Christian mothers and provide encouragement for moms, too. Give all women attending worship services on May 14 a devotional book like Amazing Grace for a Woman’s Heart™. You could also present every woman attending Bible class with an insulated cup or a coffee mug as a reminder of the important role Christian women play in today’s world.
- Why not host a weekend spring retreat near Mother’s Day this year? CTA is here to help you plan and present an uplifting and inspiring event! Steppin’ Out in Faith is a fun, fresh theme that will appeal to women of all ages. CTA provides a planning guide, plus participant books and a wide variety of gifts to help make your event a success!
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