As ministry leaders we need to keep in mind that your volunteer community is the backbone of VBS. Showing appreciation is not just a onetime note or event. Appreciation needs to be planned and take place prior, during and after VBS. As part of your planning framework for VBS, be intentional and have structures in place to make this happen. Too often as VBS Directors our intentions are good to show our appreciation, but life happens…we get so busy, and it falls off our radar. Not this year! Gracious gratitude awaits our wonderful VBS volunteers!
Prior to VBS
Appreciation needs to start the moment an individual says, “YES I want to serve at VBS”. This is an ideal time to invite the congregation to get involved with the adventure. Have members of your church serve on the “Gratitude Team” to write thank you notes. Have preprinted note cards with your theme logo. Make sure your cards indicate how excited that he/she will be serving and sharing God’s love at VBS this year!”
Build relationships with your volunteers. Take time to know their names, and the unique gifts that they are bringing to VBS. A key point to remember is that these VBS leaders are NOT just filling a slot. Remember, they have answered God’s call to help children discover the love of God for them.
Share the excitement and recognize volunteers as they are stepping up and saying yes. Ask their permission to celebrate them on social media. Use this type of message for your social media, say “Look who is joining us for VBS. Thanks for stepping up and serving at our VBS this year!”
Equip your volunteers with fun, informative training. Your goal is to set them up for success, not failure. Training shows your volunteers you care, you appreciate them and want them to shine! During the months prior to VBS start a blog just for them to share quick helpful tips and build excitement.
Develop a Prayer team that sends out notes/email messages the week before VBS letting leaders know they have been prayed for and celebrating that God’s light will shine on and through them!
Join the private Facebook group “Cokesbury VBS” where questions and ideas are shared.
Send text messages to your leaders. Be creative with fun emojis and confetti.
Have your VBS students create thank you cards during VBS. Create a paper flower bouquet for leaders. Have students write or draw a thank you on a colorful paper flower petal. Combine petals to create a flower. Present these flower bouquets to your leaders to show your gratitude for their ministry.
Say thank you in person. This is the simplest and very impactful way to show appreciation. Take time with your Pastor or key leadership of your church to walk around VBS and show your appreciation ~ a personal in person “Thank You.”
Provide surprises throughout VBS! Welcome your VBS volunteer team with coffee, tea, juice and fresh baked goods each morning. If your VBS is in the afternoon or evening, consider providing a simple dinner for both the kids and volunteers arriving after work. Enlist members of your congregation to provide items or have other Bible Study classes sponsor a day.
Celebrate what God has done in your worship service VBS is an opportunity to educate and help your congregation feel engaged and part of the life of the church. Celebrate what God is doing and recognize the number of volunteers that made this important ministry happen.
Thank you gifts. Check out Pinterest “volunteer/teacher thank you gifts” to find endless innovative ideas. Simple ideas like attaching a luggage tag note to a bottle of water: “Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents to let God’s light shine.”
Send a “You are a blessing” card around Thanksgiving time reminding your VBS volunteers the impact they had on the lives of the children of the church and community.
This year make the commitment that you will be intentional about gracious gratitude to show leaders you care, they are loved, thank them for reflecting God’s great light and love.