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10 Outstanding Ways to Thank Your Ministry Volunteers

Use these 10 creative ways to thank wonderful volunteers and let them know you appreciate them!

Your volunteers go above and beyond their calling by faithfully serving—often without anyone ever taking notice. And while “praise from people” certainly isn’t the reason volunteers serve, it’s appropriate and necessary to attend to and thank those who faithfully give of themselves through their personal investment in children’s ministry.

Check out what children’s ministers are doing to tangibly thank their volunteers.

1. All-Seasons Thanks for Volunteers

“We have a plan to show our volunteers year-round appreciation,” says John Wiseman from Risen King Community Church in Redding, California. “In the fall, we present returning teachers with a book about practical ministry to help equip and further train them as they begin the new year. At Christmas, I send a handwritten thank-you card with a gift certificate for a pie from an area restaurant. And at the end of the school year, I give them a book to encourage them in their walk with Christ, along with a personal, handwritten note to thank them for their service.”

2. Mardi Gras Event for Volunteers

Larry Shallenberger from Grace Baptist Church in Erie, Pennsylvania, shares about a large event he planned for his church’s volunteers.

“We had Mardi Gras Night. I went online to find out what the colors for Mardi Gras meant, and I learned they originally were chosen to reflect the royalty and power of God. I utilized these colors, ordered Mardi Gras decorations, and went all out decorating. We had Cajun food, and to take advantage of the teaching moment of the Mardi Gras colors, we asked our volunteers to form groups and think of ways they saw God’s power, faithfulness, or wealth in their teaching ministries over the past year. I then presented each volunteer with a FaithWeaver cross pin (again utilizing the color theme) from Group Publishing to end the evening.

“I’m in the process of sending out letterhead I had made for the children’s ministry to each family,” continues Shallenberger. “And I’m asking the parents to write a note of appreciation to their children’s teachers on one side. Then I asked them to have their children do the same on the other side. Then I’ll collect these notes and bind them into books to present teachers with a truly heartfelt thank you.”

3. Gift Book for Volunteers

Heartfelt Thanks is a keepsake book for volunteers and teachers. It weaves encouragement, uplifting Scripture, real stories, and more into a gift that’ll warm their souls—and help keep their enthusiasm for introducing kids to Jesus going strong. Show your team members how much you care as they grow their relationship with Jesus and journey with children to make an eternal difference in the world.

Let them know you appreciate them! This book is the perfect gift for new teachers, thank-you gifts, Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers, pick-me-ups, or anytime affirmations.

Quantity discounts are available at

4. Loving and Thanking Volunteers

“Volunteer appreciation is what ministry is all about—helping children come to Christ and loving the people who see that happen,” says one pastor in Kentwood, Michigan. “I present my volunteers with a gift each Christmas, send personal notes to our volunteers (especially when I see a volunteer do something special with the kids), and plan a catered dinner once a year.

“This year we’re doing something new—we’re planning a children’s ministry volunteer picnic for all volunteers and their families. We’ll have food, games, and fun at an area park and are planning a time my volunteers won’t forget.”

This pastor also considers training and supporting personal growth as part of his volunteer appreciation ministry. He sends volunteers to many outside training events and provides in-house training throughout the year.

5. Eat, Drink, and Be Thankful

“We have an ongoing volunteer appreciation ministry at Sparta Baptist Church,” says Lynda Freeman from Sparta, Michigan. “Year-round we thank our volunteers with notes, candy, and other little surprises hand-delivered to them before their classes begin each week.

“Each fall we have our annual holiday open house where I open my home for two evenings and invite the volunteers and their guests to come, enjoy good food, good fellowship, and Christmas music. I present each volunteer with a gift certificate to an area restaurant (donated by the restaurants) and a handmade Christmas ornament. It’s a fun evening that leaves my volunteers affirmed, renewed, and feeling appreciated.

“In spring we have an annual volunteer appreciation dinner. One year we had coffee mugs with our children’s ministry’s new logo made to present to the volunteers.”

6. Community In-Reach

Approach area restaurants, gift stores, and florists about donating a gift certificate. Many will be happy to do so. For the small amount of time it takes to contact businesses and pick up the certificates, you’ll be able to present your volunteers with a truly wonderful gift at no cost to your church.

7. Magnetizing Ministry

Take a photo of each class with a cellphone or other digital camera. Print the photos on magnetic printer sheets, and present your volunteers with special photo magnets of their classes. Print cards that say, “You make kids’ church magnetic! We’re thankful you were our teacher this year!” Have kids from each class sign the card.

8. Adopt a Volunteer

Ask adults in your church who don’t teach to be involved in your volunteer support and appreciation ministry by “adopting” a teacher. When they adopt, they’re committing to:

  • Provide one year of prayer support.
  • Keep their adopted volunteer informed of any adult class activities such as dinners or parties.
  • Celebrate the volunteer’s birthday.
  • Participate in volunteer appreciation day. They can order a delivery for a “catered” breakfast, lunch, or dinner along with flowers and a card that says, “Thanks for feeding kids’ spiritual growth! Enjoy a meal on us!”

When we involve others in our church in thanking those who serve, it’s more meaningful to the volunteers. It could also inspire more people to get involved and volunteer.

9. A Special Service for Volunteers

Collaborate with other church staff to designate time in a Sunday service to celebrate the work and dedication of all ministry volunteers. Invite a willing child or adult from each Sunday School class to say a short prayer for his or her teacher during the church service. Include prayers of thanks for nursery volunteers all the way through the adult classes.

  • About a week ahead of the service, invite kids and their families to make cookies, fudge, or other special treats that you’ll collect and put in a wrapped package for each volunteer.
  • During the service, have preselected kids walk into the sanctuary and lead teachers to face the congregation.

Present each teacher with a gift and a package of goodies. Have the preselected kids pray and thank God for their teachers.

10. Pamper Your Volunteers Sunday

Honor your volunteers with a pancake breakfast. Include your entire church, but have special tables according to classes. This way, teachers can eat with their students and their families. But require parents to sit with and be responsible for their kids. The teachers should be able to relax and enjoy the breakfast!

  • Present each volunteer with either You Are Special or Because I Love You by Max Lucado.
  • Provide an opportunity for kids from each class to share something they appreciate about their teachers. Or ways their teachers have shown Jesus’ love to them over the past year.
  • Have each class present its teacher with a “heart” gift. This could be a picture of a heart drawn by a child, chocolate hearts, or a mug with a heart on it.

If you’re interested in beginning a ministry of appreciation to your volunteers, pick one thing to start with and see the difference it makes with your volunteers. If you’re already committed to a ministry of appreciation to your volunteers—thank you! You are a blessing and what you do makes a difference!

Want more volunteer management ideas? Check out these articles!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means we may earn referral fees if you make a purchase after clicking on a link that leads to Amazon.

3 thoughts on “10 Outstanding Ways to Thank Your Ministry Volunteers

  1. Allison James

    As we approach the end of another school year, I am giving my volunteers a gift of sea salt chocolate caramel candy to thank them for being the Salt of the Earth (Matthew 5:13).

  2. Showing your volunteers that you appreciate them is such a good idea. These are some good ways to do so. Thanks for sharing!

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