The link, above, goes to a wonderful article writted by Kent Evans who serves on the board of “Manhood Journey“. The Manhood Journey curriculum is used and promoted with permission by Trail Life USA as an optional father-son (or male mentor and trailman) bible study aimed at junior high school aged trailmen.
The article points out that instead of “merely” thanking the volunteers who help you at church, or during Trail Life meetings (etc.) we ought to be “commending” them.
Merriam-Webster defines commend in the following way:
- to entrust for care or preservation
- to recommend as worthy of confidence or notice
- to mention with approbation (to offer praise)
By commending our volunteers, we not only publicly praise their past service, but demonstrate our ongoing trust in their commitment, ability, and loyalty.
We can also make a point of celebrating the fact that their service isn’t merely to the leader of the group or just the organization, but to the Lord since our calling is to mentor the next generation of men in the church.
The author of the original work suggests that shifting from just thanking (informally) to commending (formally) we can accomplish three key objectives. Quoting from the source article, those objectives include:
First, their work is noticed. Even though we all want to serve completely unconditionally, we long to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.” Recognize your volunteers regularly!
Second, we remind the volunteer why they are serving. They are (hopefully) not serving us (another volunteer), the preacher or even the local church. Ideally, they are serving because they love The Lord and believe in the cause. We all want volunteers who are committed to the cause more so than they are to us personally. How we recognize them can directly affect their level of sustained commitment.
Third, we remind ourselves that we are not the reason they are serving. By pointing their service back to the greater good or The Lord, we extract our own egos from the value chain.
Although I think that these objectives subtly suggest another benefit, I’d suggest is explicitly — that offering effective commendations to our volunteers also serves to remind everyone of our organizational goals which would not be met but for the sacrifice and dedication of all our volunteers. Commendation can fuel the fire to accomplish more and to rededicate to the goals which bring us together in the first place.