Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This is how they thank people for cleaning the church??!

I had the best first time visitor conversation on Sunday morning.  A guy named Alex came to Celebration for the first time. He has a Catholic background and CC was a whole new learning curve for him, but one he enjoyed.  In fact, he came to the altar to surrender his life to Jesus on Sunday.  Now, that NEVER gets old!   In the guest room afterwards he told me what first excited him about CC.

Saturday we had a work day all day.  People worked hard...I mean really hard, to get the place in shape for the next season.  Men, women, teens and little children all served -- I was so proud of everybody.  I'm a leader that strongly believes in showing appreciation, "catching people doing things right," and rewarding what you want to see repeated.  I don't EVER get up and talk about people who don't show up, who don't do stuff, who aren't doing whatever -- I just talk up the daylights out of anybody who IS showing up, and is doing stuff.   Did you ever sit in a service or a meeting where the leader/preacher did nothing but talk to the people who WERE there about the people who WEREN'T THERE?  I did that when I first started out in the ministry and discovered it was a HUGE mistake.  I've sat in services where preachers did nothing but rail out for 30-45 minutes in a sermon about everybody who wasn't there!  Hello.  Jesus didn't die on the cross for the sins of the world so we can get up and waste whole sermon opportunities blasting away about people who don't show up or do anything.   It just frustrates the people who are there because they think, "why is he/she complaining about people who aren't here?  I'm here, so let's get this party started!"  I've always said, "move with the movers!"  Don't concern yourself with who's not there -- maximize the moment with those who are.

In addition to personally thanking everybody who served by leaving them facebook comments on their pages over the weekend, we had a time set aside on Sunday morning to recognize those who served.  Right before my husband preached, we had the theme from "Rocky" ("Gonna Fly Now") ready to roll and right on cue the sound person started playing it  nice and loud and it was rockin' the house.  I shouted to the church, "get on your feet, it's time to honor the heroes of the weekend!!!"  Leaping around the stage and shouting,  I called those who served over the weekend  to come running up to the stage while we clapped and generally went bonkers until the last person's name was called.   We had to play the song twice just to get through all the names and thank everybody. It was awesome!

Afterwards in the guest room Alex said, "let me tell you the first thing that got me excited about this church...it was the way you thanked people!"  He said,  "When you started that theme from Rocky I got on my feet and started acting like I was boxing - I was bouncing around punching my fists as all those people were running up to the stage and I was shouting along with the rest of the church and my friend who brought me was surprised.  She was like, "Wow, you're really getting into this!" and I said, "THIS IS AWESOME!  THIS IS HOW THEY THANK THE PEOPLE WHO CLEAN THE CHURCH!  HOW DIFFERENT IS THAT?!  I WANT TO BE PART OF THIS!"

Naomi, one of the leaders in our worship ministries was standing nearby in the guest room and said, "that's what I tell everybody about this church when I invite them...we do everything differently and you've just got to come see it for yourself..."

Different is good.
I'm so glad I'm a part of something different.
Wouldn't have it any other way.
I love our Celebrators and what God is doing through them.  I love their passion and their commitment even when it comes to cleaning.  I cherish the family God has placed me in.  Although my heart is full and I think I couldn't love them any more than I do, I grow to love our people more.

*p.s.  special thanks to Bonnie Stewart who was meticulous about writing down each person's name who served over the weekend, making it possible to thank each and every person without missing even one.  You rock, Bonnie Boo!

6 comments:

Ruth said...

You guys ROCK The House (of God) !
What I see happening in churches (ours included) is the appreciation and attention is going to the good givers and not necessarily to those in the trenches. I notice that those who do the back breaking work as in cleaning, or stressful jobs, as nursery and pre-school work, get little or no thanks. Been there many times. Just once, I'd love to hear someone say, "Our church would like to thank...(and list the names) for helping with spring clean up yesterday!." Deanna, it is always the same people who help, and we all show up for whatever job needs done, because it is unto the Lord. But the fleshly side of me would like a verbal pat on the back! I hope your members appreciate all you and your husband do to show your thanks. You are a rare breed! :)

Deanna said...

Ruth, I see where you are coming from. I would encourage you, many pastors probably haven't thought about it, or just don't know how, or think they don't have the money. (It's easy to assume people want money or a gift that costs money. And pastors sometimes see what other churches/leaders give their people and think, "I can't compete with that..." so they do nothing.) I too have been discouraged in times past when I saw that our church was in a financial down time, we could not purchase any kind of tokens of appreciation for our people or even pay for a banquet but pastor so and so was giving his/her people a steak dinner and buying them each the latest Max Lucado book or whatever. And us? Well we were just praying to be able to pay the bill to keep the lights on. LOL I realized, people just want to be thanked more than anything. So...just a few ideas...

We had a few "nursery potlucks" where our children's pastor brought the whole nursery team together and they each brought a dish (yes, to their own appreciation, I know, a bizarre idea perhaps) and then once they got there he just shared his heart and thanked them for all they do and they enjoyed fellowship. Folks appreciated it, just the opportunity to get together and hear from the CP's heart.

Recently we needed some big items for the nursery and toddler room. The economy has really affected things. We can't afford to just run out right now and buy changing tables or whatever. So the nursery director came up with the idea to have a rock a thon. She mobilized the workers and they met to do this but first she asked me if I'd be willing to help her write a letter to Olive Garden and ask them to provide a dinner for each person rocking and share the purpose of what our church is trying to do in the community and in ministry to children. I gave her the letter and she took it to the manager of Olive Garden. They readily agreed to provide a complete dinner (salad, bread, Chicken Marsala, etc.) to each nursery worker. They loved it! We really have a nursery leader who rocks (literally and figuratively) and comes up with little ways to show appreciation that cost little or no money.

I've found it's not the money that matters to people, it's the thanks. But most pastors do get stuck on the "what are we going to give these people" because they feel to not give them anything is cheesy, so they say or do nothing.

I am just telling you all this so that maybe if you are in a position of any kind in your church to gently suggest that you have something to honor workers you could maybe even plan the first one and help the pastor see how it might help/motivate/encourage others. I know you are one of the ones in need of a pat on the back and and it might be the last thing you want to do because you're longing for it yourself. Sometimes the best way to show someone what could or should be done is to model it and let them see how it can work.

I will be praying for you as you continue to work so faithfully in service to the Lord. Many blessings upon you dear sister. Love ya

Ruth said...

You are so right, Deanna, it isn't the money, or the gift, but the words and attitude. As in a job, verbal encouragement and appreciation is enough (for me). I believe that too many times, the hard workers of a church body, are verbally neglected because church staff knows they'll be there, reguardless. I've been on both sides of this issue and know you have, too. Your church is blessed! Keep up the good work!

Deanna said...

I know I'm not mincing words here but I'll just say it because I don't know another way right now or maybe it's because I'm too weary to pretty it up...pastors are stupid if they think people will always be there regardless. At least that hasn't been my experience. The other day a friend of mine who is a pastor did a post about armor bearers and another friend of mine who has been a pastor many years wrote a comment, "where do you find these people? I'm still looking for them." They have people who help for a few months or even a few years but then they either quit or move or transfer, etc. They can't get consistent help. It has been my personal experience so far that even when I do appreciate people they don't last forever. At some point they move (transfer across country or state) or feel their "season" is over, or whatever. I am always thinking of who may we waiting in the wings to save the day, not because I want to think about that, but because I've had no other choice. I am not saying this whining, just stating fact that it's VERY RARE to find people who are there always and forever, "regardless." So as a pastor if you think someone is even going to come close to that, or has the potential to -- you had better thank them because to not do so is just plain stupidity.

Deanna said...

I'm genuinely sorry if I sounded like sour grapes in this last comment above. I thought about deleting it but just thought I'd be honest and leave it. I so appreciate people like you, Ruth. I do have "regardless" people in the church, people like you are to your pastor. There are just few of them and sometimes I get angry. It's a little sore of a subject for me right now for a few reasons that I can't elaborate here but suffice it to say, my "regardless" people are worth their weight in gold, I would be DEAD without them and I am not exaggerating. My physical/mental/emotional health would not be there without those people and so my thanks to them is eternal. At the same time I sometimes fear what would happen if they were no longer "regardless." May the Lord bless you hundred fold for your sacrifice and service. Love you

Ruth said...

Love you, too, Deanna!!! I'm glad you felt comfortable to vent a bit. :) Praying for God to send a few more to hold up you and your husband's arms during battle. You bless me and I appreciate every post you write. Have a blessed day, sistah! XO