7. We will celebrate and appreciate

  • We believe it’s vital to acknowledge what our youth worker is doing and the commitment they have made to work with young people in our church.
  • We promise to make sure our youth worker knows they are appreciated, and we will celebrate their achievements.

Do you feel valued for what you do?

However you answer that question, you’ll know how important it is. If you do feel valued, you’ll know how motivating and encouraging it feels. If you don’t, you’ll know how difficult and demoralising that can be. Being appreciated makes a huge difference, especially when the job is as demanding as youth work.

With this in mind, it’s important that churches make sure their youth worker knows they are valued. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that people know this, but in many cases it needs to be more explicit. “Of course, our youth worker knows how much we love them,” the church might say. But do they?

This promise is about creating a habit of acknowledging what is achieved in the church’s youth work and the value of the youth worker themselves. And, of course, it applies to everyone contributing to church life, not just those involved in youth work. Celebrating and appreciating people is part of what it means to express Christ’s love in our world.

Celebrating achievement, for example, could include sharing what has been done over the past few months, welcoming new members of groups, acknowledging long service and perhaps even congratulating the youth workers on surviving a youth weekend intact! Whatever the reason, a climate where people are acknowledged and appreciated will almost certainly make for better and more effective youth work.

Affirming and celebrating your youth worker can also be of great benefit to your church’s youth. It helps to remind them that the church considers the youth work, and by implication themselves, to be an important part of the church.

Questions to consider

  • If your youth worker were to honestly answer the question ‘Am I valued?’ what would they say?
  • How does the church already show its appreciation and celebrate the achievements of the youth worker? What, for example, have you done in the last twelve months?
  • Are there particular times of the year when it’s especially appropriate to celebrate and appreciate the youth worker and their achievements: for example, the beginning of the academic year?

Ideas to help you meet this promise

  • Hold a ‘Youth Worker Sunday’ when you show your appreciation to your youth workers by publicly acknowledging their work in a service, with perhaps holding a special lunch or other social event afterwards. Include volunteers too!
  • Ask the young people in the church to take part of a service to show how much they appreciate the youth worker. They could devise a special section of the service, report back on the impact of the youth work on their faith and life, and the difference having a youth worker makes.
  • Give a small gift each year to those working and volunteering in the church, including the youth worker. These small gestures can often make a huge difference in helping people feel their effort and work is appreciated.

What your church needs to do

  • The church needs to plan to take two actions in the coming year related to this promise. Those actions do not necessarily need to be the suggestions made above. They can also include things that the church has already done previously and is planning to continue to do in the coming year