I have never met anyone who doesn’t appreciate being encouraged. I have met people who don’t like to be publicly encouraged (I don’t understand that, but I am also not an introvert), but never someone who would get upset because they got encouraged. There is great power in words of affirmation. We need to use those words more often.
Having been a volunteer and a youth pastor I know how valuable words of encouragement have been for me. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
1) Write them a note. Emails, texts and Facebook messages are great, but there is something about receiving hand written note in the mail that really stands out. It shows that you took time to personally invest in the encouragement.
2) Remember their birthdays. Find out right away when your leaders birthdays are nod plug them into your calendar on your phone, computer, day timer, or whatever method you have. Don’t rely on Facebook to remind you, because you know that you miss many updates on there anyhow. Get yourself a stack of birthday cards and write them to each of your leaders. If you want to crave out some time in your office to knock them all out and have them ready to send, you can totally do that.
3) Bring them lunch at their place of work. Let them know before you do as it may be completely awkward when you show up and they are having a lunch with their boss and he is cranky. Haha. If not lunch, see if it is possible to pop by to say hi every now and then. I have a guy who is a farmer and from time to time I go and sit in his John Deere combine with him for a couple of hours. It’s amazing what you can find out about a person when you are stuck inside of a slow moving small box for a time.
4) Remember their family members’ names. Our name is extremely important to us. Being known is extremely important to us. If you can remember the names of your leaders family members and ask them about them from time to time you will gain a lot of “points” with your leaders.
5) Believe in them and let them know it. Everyone needs to know what they are doing matters. Everyone needs someone in their corner. Let your leaders know that you believe in them and support them fully. This happens when you do any of the above encouragements. Sometimes it is really good to tell them to their face. Don’t be afraid to publicly say something about what a great job they are doing.
An encouraged leader is an engaged leader. Take the effort this week to encourage your leaders! Get creative. Use this post as a launching point for you and have fun building up your volunteers!
Thanks for loving students and your volunteers!
– Erik w/ a K