Being thankful is more than just saying a few words of blessing over a meal or celebrating a once-a-year holiday. Encourage gratitude in your church. Thanksgiving should be a way of life.
This article by Trisha Brown of the United Methodist Communications, gives us 3 ways to encourage gratitude in the church. Enjoy!
3 ways to encourage gratitude in the church
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” — Cicero
According to University of Mississippi Medical Center chaplain Doris Whitaker, being thankful reaps health benefits as well as spiritual ones. The director of pastoral services explains, “Thankfulness releases us from anger and from materialism. It helps us acknowledge that there’s something greater than us.”
So, what are some easy ways to share gratitude?
- Recognize your blessings
The easiest way to glean gratitude out of life is to remember all the things for which you are thankful. Counting your blessings should be more than just a song.
- Check out this gratitude quiz.
- Set aside time to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
- During worship, invite congregants to contemplate quietly the reasons they are thankful.
- Create a special service where members can share testimonies of thanksgiving.
- Take an offering of thanksgiving or create a blessing box. Ask attendees anonymously to write things for which they are thankful and place them in the box. Choose a few to share each week during the service.
- Remember your remarks
Engaging your church with gratitude involves more than just words, but words are extremely important. You can help develop hearts of thanksgiving by encouraging people to pay attention to their words.
- Take the 21-day complaint-free church challenge.
- Preach on thankfulness — year round. Promote thankful hearts, and hold each other accountable.
- Keep a journal of things for which you are thankful.
- Model encouragement and teach others about the gift of encouragement. Say “thank you” often. Write notes of encouragement. When you want to complain, think of someone who has done something for you and make a conscious effort to thank that person as soon as possible.
- Use social media as a forum for appreciation and encourage your members to do so as well. Post or tweet affirmations of thanksgiving and gratitude.
- Remind yourself that thanksgiving should never end. Help others look for ways to include praise and thanksgiving as a regular part of their quiet time and prayer life.
- Remember that sincere appreciation and gratitude go a long way towards winning friends and influencing people.
Take the 21 Day complaint-free challenge
- Reach out to those in need
Therese Borchard, author of “9 Ways to Promote Gratitude in Your Life,” writes, “Service promotes gratitude more directly than any other path I know. Whenever I’m stuck in self-pity or depression, feeling personally victimized by the universe, the fastest way out of my head and into my heart is reaching out to someone who is in pain — especially similar pain.”
Help yourself and others develop hearts of gratitude by reaching out to others in need.
- Provide a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for all ages of your congregation.
- Encourage small groups to take field trips to various areas of your community and look for needs, and then brainstorm ways they might help.
- Since giving really does promote gratitude, help create a joyful giving experience for your congregation.
- Remind church members that they give because it is a way of showing gratitude for all God has given to them
— Tricia Brown has been a freelance writer and editor for more than twenty years, ghost-writing and editing for individuals as well as for health, education and religious organizations. She enjoys reading, writing and public speaking commitments in which she teaches and encourages other women.