Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 4)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 140)

Seven Ways to Show your Parish Staff that you Appreciate Them!

1. Cookies! It may seem like a small gesture, but, believe me, it is greatly appreciated. Don't do anything fancy (unique creations often lead to uneaten cookies). Just bake some nice chocolate chip cookies and leave them with a note thanking the staff for their hard work. (If you want to be really sweet, you can bring a gallon of whole milk!)
2. Spiritual Bouquet. Your staff would feel quite humbled and appreciative if parishioners spontaneously delivered loads of cards listing Mass intentions, penances and prayers which they have said for them. (Please do not deliver a real bouquet if men are included in the staff. We feel weird getting flowers.)
3. Letters of Encouragement. You have no idea how many times we hear "I just wanted to bring up a concern" and "I think you should really do blank." The rest of the time we don't exist. Constructive criticism is great, but when it is all you hear your outlook gets bleak. It really helps when a parishioner sits down and writes a letter explaining why they appreciate our work. One letter like that can cover up a multitude of negativity and make everything feel worthwhile.  

4. Lunch. I know I already said cookies, but people like food. It's a fact. If you got together with some other parishioners and brought in a lasagna or even a cold-cut platter (with a note) it would do wonders to help staff remain positive and enthusiatic.

5. Don't Complain. If your DRE holds training sessions or your secretary is making you fill out a form then it is for a reason. Procedures are in place because, somewhere along the line, their absence caused a problem. Please just fill out the form or get trained.

6. Support Parish Events. There is nothing more depressing then spending a month planning for an event in which five people show up. You feel your work doesn't matter and nobody cares. (Actually, there is something more deppressing and it happened to me. Imagine spending a month preparing for Event X, having promoted it fully, and then nobody shows up. The next day, still in your depressed state, someone calls to complain because you don't ever have Event X and so they are leaving the parish. It's like being kicked by a child after you cleaned their room for them.)

And the BEST thing you can do for your staff...

7. Volunteer! Believe it or not, someone actually does all the stuff the Pastor requests help with at the end of Mass. When we ask for volunteers and nobody calls or signs-up to help, the staff are usually pressed into service (and not always with due compensation). This requires us to take extra time (sometimes hours) away from our families in order to do by ourselves what could have been done in half the time with a few extra hands. 

If you want more Quick Takes then check out Jennifer at Conversion Diary!


  1. I remember working in parish ministry and, yes, I miss the cookies!

  2. #1 works until you get 5 lbs of cookies at Christmas and you can't have the sugar.

    If you get the cold cut tray in #4, let me know. I'd love to know how that works out!!

    And seriously #3 is the best thing ever.