11 March, 2006

The Czar of Thank You's

About 2 months ago, Weekend Fisher posted on Christians in Action, listing some Heroes in Service. Her post made me think, but I could not think of what to do with it. Maybe I have finally thought of something. The discussion after the post on lonely faith was convicting, and after some cogitation I hope I have come up with a practical answer.

As always, this is an idea, not a tested plan. Feel free to improve upon it willy-nilly.

I would like to see one more bulletin added to the weekly flier - one more page. At the top, it would say this:

Thank you's
These anonymous thank you's are sent from one member of the church to another to let the church know how much their help with the little things was appreciated.
This page would be in the bulletin every week, and be filled with little notes of thanks from member to another for mowing a lawn, picking up some kids, making a dinner, or looking at a car. The thanker and the thankee would both be anonymous, but a couple little details of the help rendered would be included.
I think it would encourage everyone to look for opportunities to care for each other. I think it would also serve as a barometer of the church's internal weather. It might even warm that weather up a little bit.
But a little flier page cannot stand alone.

Acts 6:1 TNIV
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews [a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

We are not the first people to have this problem. The first and most exciting church in history had this problem even while the Spirit was moving with power, even while they were living in their honeymoon, and even while they were all in one neighborhood so to speak. (At least this problem is "scriptural".)

They addressed the problem by throwing men at it.

Acts 6:3 TNIV
Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them

The work of making sure everyone is cared for in the church is a high calling. The apostles were called to the Word, and would not abandon it, but they required that the men who would oversee this ministry be filled with the Spirit and wise. I bet that wisdom was tried something fierce, too! Communism is always hard on the flesh.

Anyway, with that little flier added to the weekly bulletin, I believe there must be added a "Thank You Czar." (I also believe there must be a Czarina, but I know that everyone may not be ready to go there.) The Czar of Thank You's would be the contact person both for everyone who wanted to help, but was too bashful, forgetful, or thoughtless to succeed at it, and for everyone who needed help but was not sure how or who to ask.

(I know that there will never be a "Czar" of anything in any normal church, but I can not resist typing the name!)

At the bottom of the flier, after a couple pages of thank you's will appear the relevant contact information:
  • To submit a "Thank you," just fill out the form at the back of the sanctuary or email a note to ty@church.com
  • To volunteer your services or to let us know about opportunities to serve, see Czar Tom or Czarina Jane or email helping_each_other@church.com
  • Or just go for it! Your brothers and sisters will thank you.
I don't believe that anyone wanted the Greek-speaking widows in Jerusalem to suffer, but unless someone stepped up it was going to continue. Maybe it happened because they were looked down upon, or maybe because they did not speak Hebrew well enough to look out for themselves, or maybe just by bad luck. Who knows. Whatever it was, the solution (oddly enough) was to do something about it.

The "something" I am proposing is pretty small, but I think that is a virtue. Silly ideas often work, and if they don't they are easy to discard or improve. This idea just might be small enough to actually happen somewhere, without a committee being appointed to discuss it until the problem (or the church) is gone.

The smallness of this idea also makes it disposable when the time comes. The church should run on relationships, not fliers. I believe that we just need a little kick-start. When we have matured enough in love, I hope we won't need to be reminded and encouraged like this. After I have actually helped most of the people in my church more than once, I will be better at asking what needs doing, and they will be better at telling me. Maybe I'll even learn to ask for help. :-)

Thoughts?

12 comments:

Patchouli said...

I think that this is a simple treasure that allows for dignity and humility at the same time.

Our little ministry will need this, as our vision includes meeting the needs of the neighborhood in which the church building sits.

MIlly said...

I like the idea of saying thanks to the guy who fixed my car mirror. You're a treasure.

(I wacked my mirror off on my car it cost me way more then I wanted to pay. "Pulled out a the garage HUH?" "YEP I did ") Had ya offered I might a said sure.

codepoke said...

Patchouli,

Little ministry?

Milly said...

I was sparked to write two thank you note today at church. Thank you.

(I judged chili today at church ,28 kinds to be exact, for your recipe section next time: No pledge taste, wood taste, perfume taste, and I don't know what the heck that was taste NOT GOOD!)

Patchouli said...

Little population-wise at present---I get it...

codepoke said...

Patchouli,

:-)

No, I think you got more than I meant. It sounds like you might have thought that I was digging at you for saying your ministry was little. Little is a good thing, in my odd little world.

I was asking what kind of ministry it was that was actually interested in the local neighborhood. I don't believe that I have ever heard of an actual outreach from a church to a neighborhood that lasted more than one cycle, except one group in Houston back in the '80's maybe.

Are you currently doing anything? What's working? Not? Does anyone in the church live in the neighborhood?

For reference, I have 2 ideas cooking in my church, but they are not doing either of them yet. I am mapping out all our membership for my pastor right now, and will be done with it in a day or two. He says he plans to do something with that idea in a moderately near future. I also have one idea cooking with the pastor's wife, and I think she is more likely to actually do something. I intend to fly this "thank you" idea by her in the next day or two.

As yet, I am still just a dreamer, but we'll see.

We did go out on Saturday and clean windows and bathrooms for local businesses. Probably not the highest priority on my agenda, but it's something.

Milly said...

As yet, I am still just a dreamer, but we'll see.

I like dream'n.

We did go out on Saturday and clean windows and bathrooms for local businesses. Probably not the highest priority on my agenda, but it's something.

It's a lot! You may have sparked someone to go to church somewhere. They fixed fence at my church this week. It may have sparked someone to go to church. I talk about my church once in a while at work. I've only been there a week. My boss is longing to go back. I'm praying that listening to me will help her.

Andreia said...

I love this idea! The church should be the center of the community! One church in my tradition that does this well is Impact Church in Houston. They are a vital part of the community in which they find themselves.

My father is a minister and I have to brag a bit about his efforts.In his former life as a missionary to Brasil he learned that you start from where you are. In his new sitting in a rural church, he started by meeting the closest neighbors to the building. He has befriended the police, the firefighters, and the judges. He knows all the principals of the nearby schools.

I love his example. It is exactly what Christ did when he dined with the tax collectors! He was an integral part of the community.

I dont understand why churches have buildings if they do not use them regularly. In this regard, we can learn a lot from the Catholic faith. We should either burn the buildings down or be using them every second of the day to serve the community we are in!

Milly said...

I'm very pleased to say that our church does try to lend a hand to the community when we can in providing spaces for others to meet. We also invite the firefighter in to eat with us and take leftovers to them. I think that they pay for their own food.

It is the small thing that make great differences.

Patchouli said...

Well, as you can see, I'm way behind!

There is a little church building in a community nearby that is owned by an older pastor. His congregation is made up of older (and precious)folk. He has offered the building for a my friend (and mentor) to use in ministry. She married a couple in it, and the pastor zoomed in and asked to her to be the co-pastor!

It is small but right in the middle of a very needy community. One of our group lives nearby.
The vision is to offer solutions to practical needs-food, clothing, referrals, transportation-and prayer and counseling. Two young ladies want to establish a 24/7 prayer room, keeping it open for anyone who needs a place to rest and revive.
We meet on Saturday evenings right now. There were flyers sent out, and a few from the neighborhood came by "just to see." What is working is to be open to the immediate needs of the people. What doesn't work is the traditional service where everyone puts on their church faces.

We're still learning, and excited about where we are going.

Milly said...

Andreia,
Will you be at the ISWW in Tulsa?
I'll look for an Impact Church group.

codepoke said...

Yes, that sounds beyond cool. You seem to have a wonderful seedbed in your little neighborhood, some great tools in your open-hearted co-pastorate, and a lot of warmth.

Praise the Lord!

May He build the house!

(I had another question for you, but it took me forever to find where this one was after your comment hit my email. I don't know where that other question could have gotten to... Thanks for checking back.)