Each member of your team is important
It's important to remember that, as well received as these little encouragements can be, volunteers like to know that they are more than just another name on a roster or a warm body completing a task. They appreciate being kept informed about all that's planned for children and family events and programs. And, you'll find that many will also like to be a part of planning meetings.
I've been told, by some of my helpers, that being a part of a team that cared about them personally, a team that sought to teach and equip them, was one of the most encouraging aspects of working in children's ministry.
So, as part of your encouragement of leaders and volunteers, consider each of your helpers on a individual basis. Take time to talk with them, take them out to coffee, learn about their skills and talents and encourage them to develop and use them. Schedule training sessions to equip them for the tasks. And.. involve them in your planning whenever possible.
It's worthwhile to mention that your church family should be encouraged to pray for those volunteers and leaders who spend so much time and energy teaching and nurturing the children in your church family.
Simple gifts of appreciation
Little gifts of appreciation, though, can be a great encouragement and this encouragement shouldn't be something that's left to the end of the year. Include such thanks throughout the year and especially whenever a leader goes above and beyond the call of duty.
A simple thank you card or card with a small gift is often all that's needed, and will still be greatly appreciated. This simple 'thank you' is made with a clear acetate pillow box filled with M&Ms and accompanied by a quality card. This card is one of the Aliroo card range.
You can send free thank you and encouragement e-cards through sites like DaySpring. It takes just a few moments to send but can really brighten and inspire a volunteer.
Small, fun notes
Another simple, but effective idea, is to print small encouragements, such as the encouragement slips pictured here, on light card stock or quality paper. Cut them out, laminate them if you wish, and slip them onto a volunteer's desk or leave on their pile of books.
You could also include these fun, encouragement slips with a voucher from the local coffee shop. They're not a big deal.. they're free... just a bit of fun.. but the little acknowledgement can really make a difference in the lives of those involved in ministry that regularly slips below the radar of others in the church family.
If you'd like to download and use these FREE encouragement slips, you can find the file below.