Over the last couple of weeks, LCMS Youth Ministry staff members have been in settings in which we interacted with a number of volunteer youth workers. LCMS Youth Ministry gives thanks to God for the time, energy, and care invested by volunteer (and professional) servants and youth workers. Here is a short list of examples we observed and heard how volunteers affect the lives of young people:
- Parents fulfill their vocational role of teaching the faith to their children, connecting their young people to the worship life of the congregation, and also supporting other young people in their congregation and community.
- Older adults listen to the wisdom and questions of young people, enabling a rich discussion about Christ’s love for us and the Holy Spirit’s invitation and direction in our lives.
- Adults make time to accompany young people to events where they are able to be immersed in God’s Word, interact with other Christian young people, and understand they are not alone in life’s struggles and joys.
- Adults share the truth and encouragement of God’s word with young people. Some adults prepare Bible studies in their free time to answer questions about life and faith from young people. Some adults volunteer to speak at youth retreats or events where their knowledge of scripture and wisdom can be heard by others. Some people open their homes and provide other earthly resources to connect young people the community of Christians. Some adults invest effort in connecting young people to pastors and staff members of the congregation who are there to provide care.
- Adults show hospitality to baptized youth and young adults as well as for their friends who are outside of the church.
- Adults pray for and serve their pastors, DCEs, teachers, and other church workers so that they may fulfill their roles.
- Young Adult Volunteers serve at the LCMS Youth Gathering and servant events.
- Community Life Builders serve at the LCMS Youth Gathering and a variety of roles in their congregations.
- Professional church workers and lay people volunteer to plan and manage events such as the LCMS Youth Gathering and LCMS District events.
- Professional church workers and lay people volunteer hours to support hosts of LCMS Servant Events.
We have so much to be thankful. God graciously claims us His own through the gift of baptism and nurtures our faith in Jesus Christ. He provides for us richly and we give thanks for the gifts of daily bread, Christian community, and family. We give thanks for how the Holy Spirit uses parents, adults, and young people to build up the Body of Christ!
As a church year and calendar year come to a close, we have opportunities to thank the many volunteers who give of their time and energy to support young people and their leaders. Whether you are a paid church worker or a volunteer yourself, here are five ways you can say “thank you”:
- Write a thank-you note or specific word of encouragement for their service. Share with them something specific you observed about the impact of their service, or their effort or attitude for which you are thankful. This could be a handwritten letter, Facebook message, email, text, etc. The sky’s the limit (aerial message included)!.
- Provide a prayer for volunteers who serve in your congregations. The prayer may be offered as part of corporate worship, Bible class, or privately.
- Provide a small gift which ties to the event/ministry area in which they serve. Consider giving volunteers a photo or small item signed by those involved.
- Throw a party for all the volunteers who helped. At the venue, acknowledge members by name and talk about the specifics of the event.
- Tag those for whom you’re thankful in a thank-you post online like this one.
Whatever you do, continue to pray for them, encourage them, and listen to them. Seek to build a genuine relationship with these people out of thanksgiving and care for them. Encourage them to be engaged in regular worship and time in God’s word as they continue to serve so many.
For all who serve the youth in your midst through the love of Christ, we give thanks for YOU!
May God bless your Thanksgiving celebration!
See more photos of people and ministry settings for which LCMS Youth Ministry gives thanks here.
Add your thank-you using #LCMSgivesthanks.