Magazine article Anglican Journal

It's Easy to Forget to Say "Thank You"

Magazine article Anglican Journal

It's Easy to Forget to Say "Thank You"

Article excerpt

A PLEASANT THING happened this week. I received a lovely note from a parishioner saying thanks for some small thing that I had done, that had been particularly appreciated. After I read the note, I was aware how good I felt. I was in a great mood. Saying thanks is a good idea, I thought. It feels good to be appreciated. I really like receiving the note!

But that happy feeling didn't last too long, because then I started thinking about the times I neglect to say thank you. As the rector of a busy congregation I am surrounded by a great number of deeply committed people who work hard to help our ministry thrive, and who do a wonderful job. I know in my heart how much I appreciate them, but I wonder if they always know it. Too often, I think, I leave them to guess.

I can share this candidly with you because I know that I am not alone in this. The more I think about it the more I become convinced that as a church we don't do a very good job of expressing appreciation. We just aren't all that good at saying "Thank you so much; you are doing a great job!"

I know what I am talking about here because I have been on both ends of this. Many times I have travelled great distances and worked hard presenting material that required a lot of work in preparation, and have failed to receive any word of appreciation for my efforts. So I think of the times that I have failed to express appreciation adequately; and also the times that I have failed to receive it, and I think, in the church, of all places, this should not be so.

It's interesting isn't it, that saying "thank you" is such an easy thing to do, but is equally such an easy thing to overlook. It requires no special talents or skills; it requires nothing in the way of resources; only a willingness to slow down a bit, to notice what is happening all around us and to express appreciation. But all too frequently, it doesn't happen.

Of course we don't mean to be ungrateful. It's just that life is busy; one thing is hardly completed before we are on to the next, and the "thank you" get lost in the transition. But none of us has ever met a single person who likes being taken for granted, and who doesn't enjoy a sincere compliment or statement of appreciation in recognition of their efforts.

It is important then for us to work deliberately to develop and nurture a culture of appreciation and encouragement in our congregations. This in itself would go a long way towards helping transform many congregations into more appealing, more magnetic communities. Besides, if the purpose of congregational life and ministry is to help people become more like Christ, it is common sense that such change is more likely to occur in a climate of appreciation and encouragement than in one of oversight and neglect. …

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