Recently our church staff held our annual in-house evaluation retreat when we reviewed the prior year’s goals and plans. God had given us a good year and we wanted not only to discuss how we could improve, but rejoice in His blessings. After we prayed, we did a simple exercise that infused life into each of us. Here’s what we did that I guarantee will infuse life into your staff, whether they are paid or volunteer.
This will infuse life into your staff.
We have nine on our ministry staff and eight were present that day. I asked everyone to write down the names of each staff member sitting around the table. I then asked them to write down one quality about each person that they most appreciated. That was the easy part. The uncomfortable, yet life-giving part came next.
I then asked each person to look at one individual and tell him or her what they appreciated most about that person. We went around the table while each of us stayed on the ‘hot seat’ (maybe there is a better term for it). Then, one by one, we each looked directly at that staff person and told him or her what we most appreciated about them.
It was an incredibly life affirming experience.
Tears were shed.
We become vulnerable.
Each of us got blessed.
Our retreat took on an incredibly open and affirming tone.
It was amazing.
Gratefulness expressed to others is not only biblical, but it brings with it many practical personal benefits as well. Science is now telling us what the Bible has for centuries: showing gratitude, saying thanks, and affirming others is really good. Here’s what we’re learning about gratefulness.
- Gratefulness stimulates Christ-honoring behavior, called pro-social behavior by psychologists.
- Gratefulness can actually make us happier.
- Gratefulness can help decrease the power of materialism.
- Gratefulness can help us learn to forgive more consistently.
- Gratefulness can help us sleep better.
- Gratefulness can make us feel better physically because it evokes the production of two neurotransmitters in our brains, dopamine and serotonin, involved in reward and well-being, respectively.
So, when we experience and show gratefulness to others or in our hearts, many benefits result.
Two great Scriptures remind us how important gratefulness is.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalms 9:1).
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Try this with your staff (or even with your family) and experience how life giving it can be.
What are some other life-giving exercises have you used with your staff?