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We often associate Thanksgiving Day with turkey, pie, and football, at its core, Thanksgiving traces its roots to gratitude. Many churches will celebrate Thanksgiving together the weekend before or after Thanksgiving Day. Here are some ideas for a creative Thanksgiving church service.

1. Send everyone a personalized invitation for Thanksgiving According to Forbes, 95% of texts are read within three minutes. Emails can sit in someone’s inbox for days or more. You can send out event-customized invitations for each church member or family. Start by thanking them for being an essential part of the church. Nothing beats a personal invitation and note of gratitude, whether it's in printed or digital format. It creates a deep sense of belongingness and makes your church members know they are appreciated.

2. Encourage people to write on a gratitude board at church If we genuinely want to learn how to practice gratitude, a straightforward way to help us demonstrate it is through articulating our appreciation. You can play around with the format of the gratitude board. You may even utilize your church's website and social media platforms for this activity.

3. Schedule Testimonies from members You can take your Thanksgiving sermon to a more intimate level by encouraging members to testify about the grace of God. For instance, you've prepared a sermon highlighting three main points about practicing gratitude. Instead of the usual explanation of these Bible verses, why not tap into the testimonies of your church members? You could record short video clips of these testimonies and play them at the appropriate time.

4. Have a gratitude meditation time It's a tradition that when we are thankful for the Lord, we express songs of praise. However, God also speaks to us in the silence of our hearts. Nothing can be more intimate than saying, “Thank you, Lord!" even in just a few moments of deep meditation. This silence can allow us to appreciate specific things for which we are truly grateful. Most importantly, these moments of silence help us reflect on how good the God has been.

5. Have a Thanksgiving meal and fellowship The point of this activity is not the food, but fellowship and appreciation. It's a chance to bond with one another as brothers and sisters. To simplify things, church leaders can request that congregants bring food and drinks, or whatever they have, to be shared as part of this meal. At the same time, the church can work around its budget to ensure no one is left out.

6. Have a neighborhood Thanksgiving meal Host a community Thanksgiving meal for people in your neighborhood who might not have another place to go. Some churches host meals for the homeless in their cities, others focus on low-income families, elderly people without family nearby, or those far from home (college students, military members etc.). Depending on the scope of your budget and the available space you have, you can focus on one of these groups, or have a blend of several.

7. Stream your Thanksgiving Service For many people, family is either coming in town or they are traveling and cannot be at the service. Streaming and having an archive of your Thanksgiving service helps them stay connected to their church family and also can be a means to attract new visitors later after they have seen your stream. Be sure and use social media to share you content.

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