Written by cycleguy on March 6th, 2016

Every non-profit (and some for profits) needs volunteers. In fact, I think it can be safely said that many non-profits would not last if were not for volunteers. Our local theater has one paid employee. Everything else is run by volunteers (concessions, ticket  booth, media, etc).

Most food kitchens and shelters and organizations which reach out to others are largely run by volunteers.

Churches are no different. We would not survive if it were not for volunteers.

For the past three years, Diana (our church secretary), Ryan (our youth pastor), and I have said “thank you” to our volunteers by having a Volunteer Dinner. We have done several different things over the years as entertainment but the one thing we have not changed is the purpose: it is our way of saying thanks to everyone who has volunteered over the past year.

Carried a chair? Volunteered.

Taught a class? Volunteered.

Played or sang on the worship team? Volunteered.

This year we have approximately 70 who have signed up to come. We will have a buffet/catered meal for them. (I draw the line at cooking!) 🙂 We will have give-aways. We will have entertainment. We will have lots of fun. But most of all, I love making the rounds and thanking everyone for their service this past year. It is a tiring evening by the time we have set up and torn down, planned and executed, but it is well worth it.

To all of you OVCF-ers who read this: Thanks from the bottom of my heart for a job well done and for making a difference in our lives and in this community. See you tonight!!

What does your church do to say thanks? I’m all in for new and fresher ideas I can implement.


16 Comments so far ↓

  1. That is such an amazing thing you do for your volunteers, Bill. Our church is quite large and I think it would be difficult to pinpoint all the volunteers there, but just a thank you from the pastors or someone else in the congregation warms my heart.

    • cycleguy says:

      Pete Wilson’s church in Nashville is quite large but does something every year. I’m not sure they pinpoint every volunteer but they do have something for them as a whole. Maybe that is an idea.

  2. Betty Draper says:

    Wow, 70 volunteers is awesome Bill. However you honor them will be worthwhile.

  3. Linda Stoll says:

    I love how you love your people, Bill. We all need to lavish encouragement on each other, the real authentic kind of appreciative love that we all benefit from …

  4. Rodney Olsen says:

    Great idea. I’ve heard of churches that highlight a few volunteers during their services from time to time as an ongoing way of encouraging and thanking them. Someone in our church makes a point of sending a card to volunteers from time to time just to let them know their work is noticed and appreciated.

    • cycleguy says:

      I like the card idea but it would take someone staying on top of it for sure. i do send personal notes throughout the year as well.

  5. Ceil says:

    Hi Bill! Our church just started doing this with our new pastor. Volunteers are invited to a reception, complete with cocktail tables, nibbles and little candles on the tables. Nothing as elaborate as your gala, but it’s nice to be recognized.

    I think you are on the right track, going around and thanking each person. You are their leader, and your personal touch is very appreciated.
    Bless you for being such a thankful person!

    • cycleguy says:

      The secretary and my wife both commented about me not getting anything to eat because I was “hobnobbing.” I’ll sacrifice my dinner for that! Thanks for the kind words Ceil.

  6. Jeff says:

    Some people write checks, some people donate time and some do both. They all need thanked in some meaningful way. Your way sounds good to me.

  7. Sharon says:

    What a great idea! I think you’re right, there is something about volunteerism that is just plain good – I think it portrays the kind of servanthood that the early church practiced. And it’s wonderful that you and your church take the time to say, “Thanks!”


  8. Bill,

    I love that you and your staff do a volunteer dinner. Mark and I have done a Teachers’ Appreciation dinner some years and enjoyed that, but it’s been a while. It sounds like you had fun.

    Re your comment on my post “Of Parties, Time Capsules…” Bill, (laughing) you’ll still be walking in four years, I’m sure. 🙂 And this Leap Year letter or journaling and thanks is never too late.

    Grinning with you and your family,
    Jennifer Dougan

  9. Pam says:

    I love that you honor your volunteers, Bill. So many do so much for so little recognition. I especially loved that you didn’t just feed them–the volunteer videos were great!