As we say goodbye to October and hello to November this week I wanted to remind all of us about what thanksgiving is. Not the holiday of Thanksgiving, but the word thanksgiving. The word thanksgiving is defined as
So how do we become a church that displays thanksgiving in our lives? Well the United Methodist Church Communication’s website has a few suggestions how our church can show thanksgiving over the next month and here are a few that I’d like to share with you:
Use our church’s Facebook page to post what your thankful for. Post daily Bible verses about giving thanks or mindfulness — “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Ask Facebook friends to add a word or photo every day of the month or week.
Out of the mouths of babes
Children’s perspectives are so honest and unique they provide excellent food-for-thought for adults and kids alike. As a Sunday school project, have children draw pictures of things (people or pets) for which they are thankful. Ask them to bring photos or images cut from a magazine of things they appreciate and ask them why they are grateful. Their reasons will no doubt amuse and inspire.
Sometimes when adults get together, we can focus on the challenges we have. It is easy to complain about what is not going well; what if you started a meeting by asking everyone to share something that is going right? Perhaps plan a meeting or Sunday School class around gratitude – only. If you host dinner clubs or small groups, ask each member to share what they appreciate most in life in place of saying grace. Let gratitude be your prayer.
Not everyone is on Facebook, but as an added visual for your church, why not clear a bulletin board or put up a presentation board for “thank you notes.” Just write, “What are you thankful for?” at the top, put out lots of large sticky notes and some pens and see what happens.
Thanks for a soldier or shut-in
Churches are often a main connection to community for members who cannot be physically present in your congregation. Visits or phone calls are wonderful, but why not send also a note expressing that you are thankful for them? Everyone needs to feel needed. Someone who is ill or not able to be there to lend a hand will know their membership, prayers, and support are still needed and appreciated.
Give thank you cards to your church staff
Have you told them lately that you love them? Make it official with a card.
(This list was borrowed and edited from: http://www.umcom.org/learn/thanksgiving-and-thanks-sharing-engage-your-church-with-gratitude)
Gratitude is an amazing lens with which to view the world. When we focus on our blessings, we tend to be happier. When we realize how much we possess, we tend to be more thoughtful of those who have less. When we talk about the good together, we tend to appreciate each other more.
In God’s grip,
Pastor Chuck Church