Storybook Wall

How do you communicate sincere thanks to someone who volunteers their time, talents, and treasure?

The twist – they are not doing it for you (your organization, your team, your church).  “They” are volunteering because they feel led to ACT – to do their thing – to make a difference.  In this situation – to help “the church” accomplish its role in advancing the Kingdom.

So last night our church wanted to honor those who volunteer at Grace Family Church.  We sent out over 2,000 invitations to those who volunteered somewhere with the church in 2008,  and about half of them showed up for the party!

But here is the rub.  We walk a fine line when we elevate the volunteer over the cause. Yes we want to recognize their hearts of service – OF COURSE!!!!  But we must be careful not to turn their good intentioned hearts towards the applause of men and away for the adoration of their Creator.  After all, we serve others to bring glory to our King!

So the central thrust of our Night of 1000 Stars was a bit different than previous years.  Oh sure, we still honored and appreciated those who volunteered, and did so in a funny, edgy, and creative way.  But the emphasis of the night was on the lives that were forever changed due to a volunteer sharing their gifting with those around them.

The inspiration was the powerful drama – Cardboard Testimony.

…but with a bit more permanence.  We turned a side wall of one of our buildings into a Testimony Wall.  And then invited everyone to grab a Sharpie and tell their story of God’s grace in their lives.  The live shots of these story tellers back into the main sanctuary was powerful.

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I think my buddy and Producer of the evening said it best in his late night email to the crew:

“But in the past years I’m also left wondering, “Did it work?  Did the volunteers really take anything away that can help them keep plugging along another year?”  This year, however, they left us irrefutable evidence of their experience, and their love for this church.  Please make it a priority sometime this weekend to just take a look at the storybook wall at some of the stories that people felt compelled to share.  It meant enough to them to walk all the way across the courtyard, out of their way to leave their story as a message of encouragement to others who would follow.  Let’s remember that the win is not in the service of great food, the accomplishment of a great show, or a master plan going off with out a hitch.  The win is etched in Sharpie on a wall that reminds us all that we are but a cog in the wheel of God’s plan for this place…”

Tell your story today…

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