Leading up to Thanksgiving, the month of November is special for churches and church staff. As believers, we’re told to give thanks at all times and in all circumstances, but we’re especially aware of this leading up to the holiday season.
Sometimes, Thanksgiving is a bit overlooked as church staff is already beginning to plan their Christmas services, but using November to celebrate gratitude can be an effective and significant means to lead up to your Christmas / Advent services.
Here are some simple and effective ways you can celebrate and inspire gratitude in your church staff and congregation this month.
1. Create a “Gratitude Wall.”
Choose a prominent, large wall inside your church – preferably one that everyone has to walk by on the way to and from the worship service – and let the church know that for the month of November, that is your “Gratitude Wall.” Create and provide notecards that say, “I’m thankful for ____________,” and have your greeters assist your churchgoers with filling out and applying their gratitude cards – as many as they want – to the wall. Throughout the month of November, watch the wall fill up with the church body’s thanksgiving – hopefully, you’ll need a ladder!
2. Use “What I’m thankful for” videos in services.
Have your creative team film “What I’m thankful for…” videos of some of your church staff members or church families, and then play them in your services throughout the month of November. Have fun and put your own spin on it! Maybe you make a video of each of your Pastor or Elders' gratitude. Maybe there are some amazing stories of how God moved in some of your church’s families this year. Find the “God stories” in your congregation and staff, film them, and let the entire church echo the gratitude.
3. Send a thank you letter to every church family.
Pastors, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to send out a letter or email to your church body letting them know how sincerely you appreciate them being a part of the church community. Include a recap of the church’s accomplishments for the year – how God moved, what ministries were launched, how many were saved at services, etc. Your church knows how busy you are, but when you stop to thank everyone corporately – in a letter, an email, or a video – it means a lot and sets the tone of gratitude for the entire church and staff.
4. Dedicate one Sunday as a “Thankful Sunday.”
In November, dedicate one of your Sunday sermons to be about celebrating the ways that God has blessed your church and congregation this year. There are often so many things to celebrate in the church, so imagine how exciting it would be to spend an entire Sunday focusing on them. Here are just a few areas you can touch on: Financial milestones/blessings, staff additions, growth in numbers or ministries, faith conversions, restored relationships, reconciled marriages, healing from sickness, and so many more.
You could go all out and have a celebration lunch after the service, or order food trucks and bounce-houses for everyone to stay after the service and celebrate together. We guarantee that the corporate rejoicing in these victories will be one of the most exciting Sundays of your whole year.
5. Create a Thanksgiving Week devotional for the church.
No matter who you are, Thanksgiving week is usually riddled with some stress alongside gratitude. Have your pastoral team create a daily devotional for the week of Thanksgiving that reminds your congregation to stop, refocus, and be thankful. This can be as easy as a daily email sent out to your church’s database, or you can create a hardcopy/booklet to pass out during the weeks leading up to it. This could be such a gift to busy families looking to slow down and spend time in reflection together this Thanksgiving.