Each week two ladies come to the church on a weekday. They spend several hours preparing the lesson materials and going shopping if the “list” calls for something they don’t already have at the church.
Each week he comes to the church to prepare the audio / video. He spends an hour or more doing this. No one sees him doing this.
Last week she made 6 sock puppets so the kids could act out the Bible lesson with puppets. One of the puppets was supposed to be a king and so she even created a tiny crown to sit on the puppet king’s head. She also created a tiny jail cell complete with little bars for when one of the puppets was imprisoned.
She comes to the church each week and cleans the children’s ministry area. No one sees her doing this. She is doing this as a volunteer and she is happy to serve behind the scenes.
He comes to church early each Sunday morning. He brings donuts that he stopped to pick up on the way.
These are just a few of the people I know who serve behind the scenes at my home church.
Think about the people who volunteer in your ministry behind the scenes. You know…the people who are not on the “stage.” People who are not teaching the lesson. People who stand in line at the store to buy 20 boxes of snacks. People who the children don’t see. People who don’t get a pat on the back from thankful parents. People who serve for the outcome not for the income.
If you are not intentional, it’s easy to forget to thank the “behind the scenes” volunteers. They usually fly under the “radar” of applause.
A recent study says that over 60% of volunteers never hear the words “thank you.”
Don’t be that leader. Make sure you recognize and encourage not only those who serve “up front, ” but those who serve behind the scenes as well.
Here are some ideas you can use to thank your behind the scenes volunteers:
Leave them a handwritten note and small gift in the resource area where they serve.
During the week stop by where they are serving and thank them in person for their heart for the kids and families.
Remind them of “why” they are serving. Share with them when a family dedicates their child. Share with them when a child accepts Jesus. Share with them when a child gets baptized. Show them how their behind the scenes serving played a big part in the children’s spiritual decisions. Invite them to attend these spiritual moments and celebrate with the kids and parents.
Help them see that what they do is just as important as what the teachers do. The teachers could not do what they do without the help of people who serve behind the scenes.
Take them out to eat or go out for coffee. Spend some time with them and encourage them.
Make sure you get the lessons, list of needed supplies, etc. to them ahead of time so they don’t have to rush around at the last minute. I recommend getting their lists of needed supplies at the minimum of a month out. Ideally, you want to support them so they can work 3 months out.
As I am typing this, I started thinking about a man who volunteers behind the scenes. He is in his 80’s. He first came to the church because someone invited him. When he came for the first time, he spoke with the pastor after the service and told him he didn’t believe in God or anything else the pastor had preached that day.
But he kept coming as the Holy Spirit drew him. One day, a few months later, he bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his life. He began to grow in his faith and it wasn’t long until he came to us and said he would like to help in children’s ministry. He didn’t serve in the limelight. He didn’t teach. He didn’t lead a small group or class.
Instead, he felt led by God to serve as a behind the scenes guy. So he began. Serving 30-40 hours a week as a volunteer “behind the scenes” guy. He worked more as a volunteer than some of our team members did as paid staff. What an impact he made and continues to make to this day. I trust we have done a good job of making him feel valued and appreciated.
Don’t forget the people who serve behind the scenes. The truth is you probably couldn’t make it without them. Thank them. Encourage them. Bless them.