- Jim Townsley
- Mar 27, 2007
The online dictionary defines appreciation as, "Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things." The act of showing appreciation does not win souls or build churches, but it is an important virtue that must never be neglected. Appreciation recognizes the worth of those who show kindness toward us. Church planters are the recipients of many kindnesses from numerous sources such as monetary support, equipment, or volunteers to canvass the neighborhoods. Among those who give may include widows and individuals on fixed incomes. These believers may be giving to this new church at great personal sacrifice. It is unconscionable to take their sacrifice for granted.
Today's society is cursed by an attitude of privilege. It seems everyone expects others to cater to their wants and desires without consideration of the sacrifice that is being made for their benefit. Our society reminds me of the ten lepers healed, but only one returned to give thanks to Jesus. "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger." Luke 17:15-18
Every preacher should be grateful for every kindness shown to him and he should learn how to properly express gratitude to those who show that kindness. A thank you letter should be left or sent to every church that provides the opportunity to present the new work. Recognition should be given for every love offering, every meal and every accommodation provided. Special consideration should be made toward individuals that provide meals, housing, or others gifts. If possible, a small gift could be given to the pastor and his wife showing appreciation for the opportunity they have provided to you. Showing appreciation for the good deeds done will be an encouragement to those who give it and it will continue to encourage their support in the future. But, even if it provides no significant support in the future it remains an important virtue to exemplify.
Every supporting church and person should receive a monthly, or at least a bi-monthly update of the progress of the new church. A weekly update could be provided via email which some people will greatly appreciate. This monthly letter will require time to write and it will require money to send it out. The cost, time, and inconvenience makes a statement of your appreciation. On occasion a hand-written note or a personal phone call will signify importance to a pastor or supporter. Most church planters do not enjoy and even know how to write a prayer letter. It is imperative to learn how to do it. The pastor's wife may be a great help in this matter. She may be a better writer and have better grammar, but someone must do it. It is poor Christian etiquette not to send out this update to churches. In essence by not sending out a report, you are demonstrating a lack of gratitude. Also, the pastor's wife should send a thank you note when a gift is given specifically to her.
Letters can be written on church stationary, but also they can be written on special thank you cards. The church letterhead and its design is important and care must be taken in its design and printing. Also, thank you notes can be designed and printed that personalize your ministry. The practice of writing notes requires time and money, but it is a must for every preacher. This practice is not only important during the infancy stages of the church, but it is important for the duration of the ministry. As the church grows and matures this practice should be continued toward members and leaders of the church. True leadership recognizes the importance of his followers.
After the church is started special speakers will be invited for revival meetings, missions conferences, and various meetings. The practice of sending a thank you letter is an absolute necessity. In addition, care should be taken to provide financially for these men of God. Remember, every speaker and evangelist that comes to your church does so at a great personal expense. These men have to pay housing and utilities and all the other expenses that everyone must pay. They are dependent upon God's people to provide for their needs. I believe God blesses a cheerful and generous giver and God blesses a church that is a giving church. If the church cannot afford a proper love offering the special speaker should be informed of this dilemma. If the special speaker realizes the church's limitation and still decides to come under those circumstances then the church should do the best they can to provide for his needs.
The matter of gratitude exemplifies the worth of those who help along the way to make your ministry a success. People need to know of the significance of their contribution. Showing proper appreciation exemplifies a Christ-like spirit.