How does your church encourage, celebrate, and lift up your laity who serve in the various ministry roles?  Too often we overlook our faithful servants and take them for granted.  A little bit of recognition, celebration, and gratitude goes a long way to encourage not only those who have served but those who might serve in the future.

While we desire to celebrate our lay servants, we often struggle with how to do so.  Below are ten tips to get you started.

  1. Establish a routine and stick to it.  Unfortunately, without a routine, the celebration time will slip away and be forgotten.  For example, the second Sunday of January becomes the celebration of servants each year.
  2. Because leadership development is the responsibility of the Committee on Nominations, this celebration fits perfectly into their area of responsibility.
  3. Send out special invitations for the Celebration Service (or Banquet) to the servants.  Make them feel special as the guests of honor.
  4. During the time of celebration, bring them forward and share what ministry area they have been serving and for how long.  If the team leader for that ministry area is willing, s/he could offer a story or special memory for how the servant has faithfully served the ministry.
  5. Present a certificate to each servant from the church indicating the ministry area served and the timeframe served.  Have the pastor and ministry team leader sign it.
  6. Consider a special recognition award or two.  For example, offer a Servant Impact Award to the servant who had the greatest impact on the mission field (neighborhood) in the previous year.  Or perhaps recognize the servant who had the greatest impact on a single soul that triggered a positive life transformation.  Consider using video to tell the stories of impact or bring people in from the community to tell the story. This could be a trophy or cup kind of award that travels from one servant to the next from year to year with their name and year engraved on it.  Remember, people will focus on what you celebrate!
  7. At the same celebration, invite those who are new to servant ministry.  Not only will they be able to celebrate with those who are moving out of ministry for a season, but they will be inspired by the stories of impact and transformation. Bring them forward by ministry area and commission them for the work ahead.  Consider providing them with a special prayer card or other token of their commissioning and remembrance of their ministry.  This experience will also deepen their commitment to the ministry.
  8. Make sure that there are thorough job descriptions, clear ministry expectations, and excellent equipping offered for all servants. Too often churches leave servants ill-equipped and wondering what is expected of them.
  9. Provide a clear understanding of how each ministry area contributes to the church’s mission and vision, the intended outcome of the ministry, and how fruitfulness of the ministry will be measured. 
  10. Evaluate each ministry regularly or after each event or program conclusion.  Provide constructive feedback, course correction if needed, further equipping if needed, and gratitude for their service and commitment.