Never Say Thank You

Leadership / February 11, 2011

What if I told you that a leader should never say thank you to his team? You probably wouldn’t believe me, would you?

Even if you grew up with deadbeat parents, you were probably taught to parrot the words “thank you” every time somebody did something nice for you. Every kind word and every Christmas gift required a gracious “thank you” as payment for services rendered. After a while, those words become a part of our regular, mindless vernacular.

But have you ever stopped to think about what the words “thank you” imply? Think about it. In the most subtle way, “thank you” suggests that I appreciate what you just did for me. “Thank you” infers that you just did me a favor.

So, I guess “thanks” is perfect if you someone gift-wraps a new sweater for you. But, if you’re a church leader, do you really want your team to believe that they’re doing you a favor by volunteering; that their service was for you? Wouldn’t you rather have your team serving God and driven by the mission of the church than helping you do your stuff?

Look how Paul shows his appreciation for his team in Romans 1:8 when he says,

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.”

In other words, “God has done me a favor by putting you in my life.” Or maybe, “I am so grateful that God has put you on my team; I’m so blessed to be serving with you.” Paul’s language is so inclusive.

So, next time, instead of saying “thanks,” use language that conveys gratitude for the gift of serving beside exceptional people. Your volunteers are not doing you a favor. And they’re not serving you.

Thanks to High Impact Volunteer Ministry training with Newell and Associates for beating this into my head.

Dave Milam
Dave Milam is a pastor, communicator and the founder of One Life Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a a gifted communicator Dave's right brained style of delivery helps his listener connect and remember God's truth in a uniquely visual way. Connect with Dave on Google+

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on February 11, 2011

Excellent point – and definitely taken to heart here.

on February 11, 2011

Well said!!

on February 14, 2011

so simple…. and imagine how it would make that person feel to be told that! that would make me want to serve for at least 8 seasons in a row 🙂

i want to remember this always!

on February 26, 2011

Couldn’t agree more. I lectured a planter about this a couple months ago when he thanked a volunteer for helping him with set up.

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