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Showing appreciation at Christmas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, church leaders and Sunday School directors should not forget to take the opportunity to show appreciation to their Sunday School leaders.

Make a list and check it twice. Here are a few ideas for saying “thank you” to those faithful folks who lead and teach in your classes week in and week out all year.

— Give a book. If your church budget can support it, purchase a small gift book for each teacher. It could be a book dealing with a Christmas theme such as the incarnation or something about Handel’s “Messiah.” Or it could be a more general book. The book need not be expensive. Check out the offerings on overstocked titles at a local Christian bookstore or on a discount book website. To make the book more special, write a personal note inside the cover and date it “Christmas 2008.” Most importantly, deliver the books personally if you can. You don’t even need to wrap it.

— Send a card. Christmas cards are still appreciated. Again, be sure to write a personal note of thanks to each individual. If your budget can handle it, you might enclose a gift certificate for a cup of coffee or a coupon that can be used at a restaurant or retail store. You might even call around and see if a local merchant might provide these to you at no cost.

— Make a homemade gift. It really is the thought that counts. Especially if the thought you want to express is “thank you.” So if the budget is tight, make a homemade gift. Cookies or candies wrapped in green or red cellophane, some miniature candies in a plastic bag — it need not be fancy. Again, deliver the gift personally as an expression of your gratitude.

— Throw a Christmas party. Remind leaders in adult classes to be sure to invite leaders and teachers in the preschool, children and student classes who are associate members of the class. Remind them to provide festive nametags so everyone feels welcome. Encourage them to take time to recognize and honor these associate members. Consider giving a gift from the class to the teacher and other class leaders.

— Have an open house. This is an idea that has worked personally for us. It would have been impossible to have all Sunday School leaders in our home at one time, but when we spread it out over 2-3 hours with a come-and-go open house, it worked great. Sunday School leaders enjoyed being in our home in a relaxed atmosphere. It was a fun way to say “thank you” away from the church building.

I know you probably have other ideas that you have used to show appreciation to your Sunday School leaders, and hopefully these have helped generate even more. Above all, just remember to thank them for all they do. May this Christmas be full of blessings.
David Francis is director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • David Francis