The church, believe it or not, can be an ungrateful place, at times. Mostly towards their staff. As an example, some churches, do not recognize all their pastoral staff on Pastor Appreciation Day. It’s shame because it’s a great opportunity to allow the congregation to show their love and appreciation for those who take care of their kids.
People who are thankful for you will always be in the minority. Embrace the minority and shut out the majority. For emotional well being you only need the minority to make doing your job worthwhile, so quit trying to please everyone. Be thankful for the few.
Now, If you want your church, your pastor to be more thankful for you, here are some practical tips.
I always had the attitude of wanting people to say, “What would we do without him/her”. Being invaluable is job security, but there is also an emotional security in knowing you are giving your very best at all times.
I love this quote from Seth Godin’s book Linchpin (which I highly recommend)
The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed.
Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can.
The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it’s a job.
Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.
I call the process of doing your art ‘the work.’ It’s possible to have a job and do the work, too. In fact, that’s how you become a linchpin.
The job is not the work.”
― Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Clean up after yourself
In the podcast, I talk about cleaning up your messes after events, putting things back where they belong, etc. and these are important, but what I should have added was the need for youth workers to clean up their relational messes as well.
Youth workers can complicate things for their pastors by doing something as simple as, oh I don’t know, speaking their minds. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be honest, but what you share and how you share it and with whom you share it has rippling effects. I love this quote,
You are remembered for the problems you create or the problems you solve
It’s true. So, if you want your pastor and congregation to be thankful for you, instead of regretting you, apologize often and clean up after making emotional or relational messes.
Be on time
Not being on time for meetings, starting on time, being where you need to be at a certain time is selfish. Being late shows the people around you that you value our time but not theres. This is a dangerous habit.
Being on time is about keeping promises. You tell parents you’ll be done at a certain time, back at a certain time, and that you’d be at their kids event at said time. If you are not going to be on time, call or text parents of the changes.
Invest beyond the youth ministry
You want all kinds of people to be thankful for you, right? For that to happen you have to step outside of your youth ministry and minister to all kids of people. The means
- helping the kids ministry with their camp out
- speaking or serving the seniors of your church
- making hospital visits
Be the Swiss Army knife of the church. Do your youth ministry job so well, you have some spare time to help someone else out.
Focus on people not program
I have received so many text, notes, pm’s and dm’s over the years from former students who appreciated my investment in them. There are times I put program over people which makes me wonder how much I lost because of that.
In his book, Be A People Person, John Maxwell offers five qualities leaders possess who excel at building relationships with those around them:
Listen to others
The key word is Others, which is affirmed in the one anothers of scripture.
Love one another. Be kind to one another. Pray for one another.
Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful for where we are. You may be in such season. Maybe your pastor is hard to work for or your hands are tied as to how you can minister to kids. No mater what it is, you can can a should be thankful for the things that really matter.
Be thankful you have a job
Be thankful that kids show up
Be thankful you have your family to go home to
Be thankful for your calling
Be thankful that the one who called You is faithful to bring to completion what He started.
These are the seeds that cultivate a grateful heart. Thankfulness isn’t an act as much as it is a practice. An ungrateful heart leads to entitlement and, eventually, bitterness. So. keep sowing those prayers of thanksgiving and your heart will being to grow more and more grateful.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18