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thanksgiving ideas for church service

church thanksgiving service program 2020 to christian church services prepare your church congregation for the great day of Thanksgiving. The concept of this thankfulness program is to deliver the central theme through music, scripture reading, reading of letters and sermons, and other worship services that will make you glad to be a part of this world and its community of faith.

Do you want to give thanks this Thanksgiving? Is there something missing from your current church program? Do you have an idea of what can make a great service program for the next year’s church Thanksgiving celebration? Look no further. This article has what you need to get your church started planning its next service program so it can incorporate all your favorite things. And yes, there’s also a link to a free interactive program.

thanksgiving ideas for church service

The first and most important thing to remember is to welcome everyone at your church. This task may seem simple but it can be quite difficult. In this article, I will give you some ideas of ways you can make things more special during the worship service in order to welcome all your members and guests.

Looking for unique and different Thanksgiving gifts for church? Check out our service ideas, worship music and the list of gift items. Looking for unique and different Thanksgiving gifts for church? Check out our service ideas, worship music and the list of gift items. Worship is the heart and soul of Christianity. It is the gateway to divine living, worship and thanksgiving look at what God has done. Let us all give thanks and praise to God, as we continue on this journey ahead.

Thanksgiving Ideas for Your Church

Cooler weather means that the holiday season is quickly approaching! As a church, you have a unique opportunity to create a Thanksgiving ministry by hosting events designed to gather people together to celebrate all that the Lord has done. Now is the time to start planning!

Even though it’s a good idea to host Thanksgiving events, actually identifying the events can become tricky. We’ve gathered the most successful church Thanksgiving events so you can get inspired to call the masses together to enjoy a fun-filled Thanksgiving celebration.

Host a Friendsgiving

Cost: $-$$$

Space: Large gathering area

Volunteers: 1-10 

Hosting a Friendsgiving can be a sweet time to gather together to enjoy a meal. It can also deepen relationships and make sure that people without family close have somewhere to go. The cost of a Friendsgiving can vary by how your church decides to set it up. For example, your church can simply provide the main dish and ask others to bring side dishes to cut down on cost. Your church can also provide all the food and simply ask people to come. Whatever your budget, a Friendsgiving is a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Pro tip: Use your church management software to send out sign-up sheets and reminders so your church members remember what they signed up to bring.

Wall of Thankfulness

Cost: $

Space: Blank area in your church

Volunteers: 0

Creating a specific space in your church for people to write out what they are thankful for can be a great way to celebrate this season. Whether it’s a large piece of paper in your main foyer or a wall you painted with chalkboard paint, you can encourage people to focus on the positives by writing down at least one thing they are thankful for.

Pro tip: As an overworked church staff member, sometimes smaller things like this fall to the wayside. Be sure to make things like this happen by assigning tasks to specific staff members through your church management software.

Pie Bake-Off

Cost: $

Space: Fellowship Hall

Volunteers: 5-20

A Pie Bake Off is a fun way to not only celebrate fall but discover hidden baking talent in your congregation. Schedule an event for people to bring their best-baked goods and have a team of judges ready to announce the winner. You can also ask your members to bring two pies — one to be judged and one to give away. You can take the uneaten pies to homeless shelters, nursing homes, or another location your church wants to support as a Thanksgiving outreach project.

Pro Tip: Once you decide which organization you want to support, use your church management software to plan the donation pie deliveries. Assign tasks to staff members to contact the organization and then send out a church-wide email inviting people to join you.

Show Your Thankfulness

Cost: $-$$$

Space: None

Volunteers: 10-30

Another great way to celebrate the Thanksgiving season is to show your church why you are thankful for them. Similar to small gifts handed on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, finding a small token of gratitude you can hand out to your congregation shows that you value them. Here are some small Thanksgiving gift ideas:

  • Miniature pumpkins
  • Bag of candy corn
  • Pumpkin or Fall scented candles
  • Autumn-themed totes
  • Leaf cut-outs with scripture written on each one

You can always write out a Bible verse and attach it to each small gift you decide to hand out, too.

Pro Tip: Use your church management software to ask for volunteers to hand out these small gifts during your church service. You can also send out reminder emails to those who volunteer so they know where to meet and what they need to do.

Thanksgiving Activities for Church and Families

“Encourage family members to jot down ways God has blessed them. Younger children can draw or cut out pictures from magazines. Read these together and give God thanks each day or set aside time on Thanksgiving Day.”

Celebrating Thanksgivings as Christians

In the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated by people of every religion and background – that is part of what makes it such a wonderful holiday! For those looking to integrate some Christian traditions into Thanksgiving, here are several suggestions to use at church and/or home.

1. Act it Out
Read the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). Remind your children that Jesus was pleased with the one man who returned to give thanks for being healed. Provide rags for bandages and let your children play the roles of the lepers and Jesus.

2. Make Some Noise
Look up the story of the Israelites’ celebration after the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt (Nehemiah 12:27-46). Talk about the instruments they used and the two great choirs that marched atop the walls to the temple; a joyous, active “thanksgiving” that could be heard “far away” (Nehemiah 12:43). Put together a home grown band using real or handmade instruments. Practice joyful praise songs and march around the “walls”.

3. Read a Book
Share a book that expresses gratitude and thankfulness. For example, consider Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place teaches a great lesson in thankfulness. Share Corrie’s story, pointing out her struggle to be “thankful in all things.” She even thanked God for fleas in her barracks. She later learned that the fleas kept the guards away and allowed Corrie and others to study the Bible undisturbed.

4. Create a Chain Reaction
Make a “God is Good” chain. Gather scissors, stickers, pencils, crayons, glue and construction paper. Cut the paper in strips and ask your kids to think about the many ways God is good. Have them write or draw these attributes on the strips, then connect them to form a chain and hang it in a place where it will remind your family of God’s goodness.

5. Make a Blessing Basket
Place a pretty fall basket containing a pencil and pad of paper in an easy-to-reach location. Throughout the month, encourage family members to jot down ways God has blessed them. Younger children can draw or cut out pictures from magazines. Read these together and give God thanks each day or set aside some time on Thanksgiving Day.

6. Trim a Tree of Thanks
Draw and cut out a large paper tree with lots of loose leaves in autumn colors. Mount the tree in a prominent place and put the leaves nearby in a box with glue and markers. Ask your family to write things they are thankful for on the leaves, filling the tree by the end of the month. Consider the following question: “If I could keep only the gifts I’ve thanked God for today, what would I have?” Ask younger children: “What do you want to thank God for today?” Encourage your family to add to the tree daily.

7. Create Scripture-themed Place Cards
Have the children make a place card for each place setting on the Thanksgiving table. On one side, write names of guests and family; on the other, type a Scripture verse about being thankful. Let each person read a verse before the blessing.

8. Encourage Sharing
Place a paper leaf at each place with an “assignment” written on it. Each person adds to the festivities by completing their assignment. Assignments might include:

  • Read Psalm 100
  • Share a Thanksgiving memory (use this on several paper leaves)
  • Sing a Thanksgiving song (good for preschoolers)
  • Lead the group in a praise chorus (have copies of the lyrics available)
  • Say the blessing for our meal

9. Let your Lights Shine
Give an unlit votive candle to each person. Begin by lighting your own candle and thanking God for specific blessings. Then, continue the process around the table until all the candles are lit, making sure to keep the flames away from small children. Lead your family in a candlelight service of thanksgiving.


Sharon Ely Pearson is a 30+ year Christian formation veteran, currently serving as an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated. Wife, mother, grandmother, and author, she enjoys connecting people with each other and the resources they need for growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus.

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