Five Ways to Say “Thank You”
It’s time to return to my favorite topic: Saying thank you. Sometimes, when I know I need to write a thank you note, I swear I hear my mom - God rest her soul - yelling at me from the kitchen, “Have you written Aunt Peggy a thank you note for the calendar yet?” As a kid, I hated sitting down at the table, looking at a piece of blank stationary, and thinking about what I would say. But you know what? As soon as I actually started the writing process, it wasn’t so bad – it conjured up good memories and a thankful spirit within me (believe me, I never revealed this to my mother).
So, without sounding like my mom in the least, “Have you written your thank you notes yet?” If not, here are some additional ways to say “thank you” to your congregation:
1. Pick up the phone. Surprise someone with a random call to say, “Thank you.” If no one is home, leave a message on the answering machine. What a lovely thing to hear when you get in from shopping or from a hard day at work.
2. Host a barbeque. Invite folks over for no other reason than to offer gratitude for the gifts they offer to the church.
3. Say it in worship. Thank your congregation for the many ways they are generous. If people believe they are generous, they often will act generous. (See more about this in my post “Acknowledging Generosity”)
4. Have a “thank you” Sunday. On a random Sunday, have balloons up with the words “thank you” written on them. Feature people who have given service to the church and to the community.
5. Write notes. OK, this isn’t new. But, it is easy – really – and so important to do. After I suggested writing cards to your congregation for Valentine’s Day, I received a wonderful email from Rev. Kathy Raines of Caldwell (Idaho) United Methodist Church who took me up on my idea. She observed, “I didn’t anticipate that I would become more thankful for my congregation, as I wrote the notes and thought of other sentiments to write in the cards.”
Thankfulness begets thankfulness. So, thanks Mom for hounding me to do the right thing. Now…get going and say “thank you”!
One more thing: Our thoughts have been with Moore, Oklahoma in the last few days. Remind your congregation that UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is a great place to make a contribution to help with rebuilding. And, it’s easy to do on line. I should know – I just made my donation.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise nearly $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.