Last night, we celebrated the 2nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at my church. This was an event put on entirely by the pastors’ families. We cooked a huge meal, sent them home with a small token of appreciation – a set of highlighters with our logo and mission on it – but more than anything, I saw a light in people’s eyes.
That light, represented that people liked to be appreciated. Nearly everyone who serves at church is a volunteer. Nearly everyone doesn’t have an unlimited schedule that they can simply put in tons of time. This dinner was acknowledging that fact. A few people stayed behind to help clean up, one couple all the way to the bitter end. That was awesome, we were tired.
But I heard so many people say to me, “Thank you” that it just felt good that they knew they were appreciated. I saw some people walking out with a bit of a spring in their step. It prompted many different conversations as they exited the church. They were glad, I think, that they didn’t have to bring any food. They were glad that they didn’t have to clean up. It’s one of the few times in the year that we don’t ask people to do anything – just come and be loved on. And people loved being loved on.
I was so exhausted last night. We left the church and got home about 9pm, or close to it. I think I was flat on my back asleep by 9:30. It may have been later, but earlier I was just in a coma and didn’t know anything around me. I didn’t care if my kids were screaming or anything. My poor wife, she was just as tired as me, but our son wanted to stay up…. Fortunately (selfishly) for me, I fall asleep the quickest. (Sorry Gail, I do love you and want to help)
So, I think all three pastoral families went home exhausted. The wives carried such a huge part of what we did. The kids all chipped in and took a big chunk of it too. Add to that, all the pieces that didn’t come together until the very last moment. Yet, in the end, tiredness and disorganization aside, I think we are really glad we did it. We already have next year’s date picked and I think I’m already beginning to look forward to it (but let’s not do it this week….)
Every week in my weekly emails I send to the congregation, I say: “I love being your pastor!” And I do. I serve the greatest church! One more thing, I sure do appreciate the volunteers a lot more today….whew!