When is the last time you said thank you? Sending and supporting churches make church planting a reality. But the support they give can easily become expected or taken for granted. Planters and Missionaries can fall into a sense of entitlement, believing we deserve support for our ministry efforts and sacrifice in reaching the lost. Do not let this be true of you! Take the initiative and make the effort to thank those who support you.
1. Make writing thank you cards routine.
There is a former church plant, now self-sustaining, that consistently write me thank you cards for my ministry investment in their staff and church. I am always encouraged and grateful to find their handwritten note in my mailbox.
Keep a running to-do list for "Thank You" cards and mark out time on your calendar to write them. Taking time to send a handwritten thank you note is an expression of gratitude. Keep a list, mark out time on your calendar, and buy some stamps:) Writing "Thank You" notes should be a routine ministry discipline if you are a church planter.
2. Provide partners with something that connects them to your city and church.
Connection Church Belle Fourche, SD is a church plant I pray for regularly because the planter gave me a great shirt and coffee mug. Every morning when I drink coffee in my Connection mug or when I wear my shirt, I am reminded to pray for this church and their staff. Don't miss out on the little ways you can connect your partners to your church and say thank you.
Each city has something unique planters can use to say, "thank you" and join their partners to the city. In New Orleans, everyone has the privilege of experiencing "King Cake". Only after eating a Cream Cheese filled King Cake will you fully appreciate what I am saying. Many planters here send out King Cakes in January and February to their partners thanking them for their support.
3. Text a picture and thank you.
Ministry is fast paced, and we can quickly lose sight of all the support that made it possible. The next time you host a block party, community event, or see someone saved and baptized. Take a picture and send a text to your partners with a little note that just says, "thank you for making this possible."
4. Send a book and thank you.
I have a copy of Pray for The Flock by Brian Croft on my nightstand. A church planter here in New Orleans gave me a copy and wrote a lengthy personal note of encouragement. This was a special gift that not only reflected gratitude for my investment, but ministered to me greatly.
These are practical and tangible ways to show your partners that you are grateful for their support and covet their partnership.
It saddens me to hear a support church share experiences of ingratitude and entitlement from partnerships. Church planters make it a priority to show your gratitude for how God has a provided for your ministry by intentionally thanking those who support your ministry.