Growing up, I was involved in a number of extra-curriculars. My favorite of all was little league. I loved playing baseball (still do). I loved everything about the game, but one of my favorites came after a win. My dad coached our team and it was so much fun to hear him say, “everyone go get a pop from the concessions on me” (this was back when it was still okay for kids and athletes to drink pop, before, during, or after a game. We didn’t need no fancy sports drinks.) I’d almost always get an orange Slice. I don’t even think they make that stuff anymore, but I still remember.
My dad was teaching me a lesson then that I would forget and have to be retaught while volunteering in a children’s ministry during my college years. He taught me to celebrate the win. He also clearly defined a win. If we played a good game but still lost, sometimes he would still buy us a pop. For him, the goal was not always us scoring more points, it was us giving our best effort and playing fundamental baseball.
I have seen this happen in larger churches, but it seems that smaller churches, like myself, have forgotten how good a soda after a game can feel. So today, I want to challenge small churches to celebrate your wins.
We all know how tiresome a big event can be. For the weeks and months preceding the event, it consumes every spare moment. We think about it, prepare for it, advertise it, etc. Then, the event is over and we sigh a giant sigh of relief and sleep really good that night. That is all good, but when the event is over, we not only should relax, we should celebrate the successes of it. If you and your spouse did all the work, celebrate with your spouse. If your senior pastor or youth pastor gave considerable time and effort to the event, bring them along. If certain volunteers carried a great amount of the workload, celebrate with them too. Take your key leaders from the event and reward all of the effort.
Celebration can be a nice meal at a nice restaurant, if your budget allows, but it does not have to be. It can be as simple as taking the group out for ice cream or having a picnic in the park and cooking hotdogs. It does not really matter what it is, it just matters that it is done. It tells those involved how much you appreciate them. It says, “Great game. I’m proud of you.” Even adults need to hear that from time to time.