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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- To volunteer your services or to let us know about opportunities to serve, see Czar Tom or Czarina Jane or email email@example.com
- Or just go for it! Your brothers and sisters will thank you.
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. :-)