Even if you grew up with deadbeat parents, you were probably taught to parrot the words “thank you” every time somebody did something nice for you. Every kind word and every Christmas gift required a gracious “thank you” as payment for services rendered. After a while, those words become a part of our regular, mindless vernacular.
But have you ever stopped to think about what the words “thank you” imply? Think about it. In the most subtle way, “thank you” suggests that I appreciate what you just did for me. “Thank you” infers that you just did me a favor.
So, I guess “thanks” is perfect if you someone gift-wraps a new sweater for you. But if you’re a church leader, do you really want your team to believe that they’re doing you a favor by volunteering– that their service was for you? Wouldn’t you rather have your team serving God and be driven by the mission of the church than helping you do your stuff?
Look how Paul shows his appreciation for his team in Romans 1:8 when he says:
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.”
In other words, “God has done me a favor by putting you in my life.” Or maybe, “I am so grateful that God has put you on my team; I’m so blessed to be serving with you.” Paul’s language is so inclusive.
So next time, instead of saying “thanks,” use language that conveys gratitude for the gift of serving or working beside exceptional people. Your volunteers are not doing you a favor. And they’re not serving you.