As I was taught when I was younger, manners cost nothing, and it’s generally polite to say please and thank you. And as I write this post, from my Salvation Army days I have the song “I nearly forgot to say thank you” going around my head…
This Sunday we are celebrating with our annual (ish) EBC Heroes day, where we recognise all of those who volunteer in our church. My role as Creative Arts Director and Worship Leader, as well as fairly regularly leading services means I am pretty visible in church, being on stage most Sundays. But it goes without saying there are many, many volunteers and staff who do so much behind the scenes.
Besides Sunday services our children’s work, youth work, older people’s work, our cafe and Messy Church, clusters, social events and small groups all rely on volunteers. I may be paid to lead on a Sunday, but it would be pointless without the rest of the band, our tech team manning the sound and lights, operations staff to sort out the words and the caretaker to open up the building.
And we, all of us, do make a point of regularly thanking our teams, whether by email, cards, chocolate or dinner…nothing is assumed or taken for granted. But as we have this one big celebration every year we can more publicly acknowledge, thank and celebrate all of the time and effort that our volunteers offer.
We have nominations so members of our congregation can actually put forward any unsung heroes that they know of, and we also have some categories ourselves which we as a staff team nominate. So we have the “Feeding the 5,000” award for catering and refreshments, the “Bridging the Gap” award for those who work with young and old people and the “Edward Scissorhands” award for copious amounts of cutting out, as well as recognition for long service, reliable service and all round good egg.
It’s run like a mini oscar ceremony with red carpet, guest presenters, everybody on stage in suit and tie (which is unusual in our church) and of course awards. But it’s more than recognising just the small number of volunteers who “win” awards. It’s all about saying thank you. It’s all about the recognition that we can’t do it on our own. It’s all about acknowledging the local church is the hope of the world, and grows, blesses and cares in the community because of it’s congregation.
Who can you thank?
So next time you’re sat in church, look around and see what everyone, and I mean everyone is doing. And maybe after the service, as well as thanking the minister for his excellent talk (or not as the case may be…), see if you can thank the band, or the organist, or the choir, or the tea lady, or the welcomer, or the sound team…all of those volunteers who make Sunday happen. They’ll appreciate it. We appreciate it. And we appreciate all of you, so much, who help us, support us, and enable us to do what we do at church.