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thanksgiving ideas for church

Thanksgiving program ideas for churchgoers can seem like a daunting task for someone who doesn’t work in the field of event management. It really is a great idea to have done some preparation beforehand, so that you don’t need to be scrambling when it comes to planning. Thanksgiving is a wonderful day of thanks to God. It is a special occasion to remember the many blessings we have enjoyed. If you are planning a special Thanksgiving program at church, you should look through all these ideas and pick out something which will be appropriate for your church.

The best way to make this a memorable experience for your children is to attend a service program or activity that connects them with their church family. Your kids can learn about acts of service and how they can become more involved in their congregation. You’ll also be making a lasting impression on your children at a time when they need to learn how to follow Jesus’ example even more closely.

thanksgiving ideas for church

It is time to reveal some details of the most spectacular thanksgiving service ever performed at church. The Thanksgiving program has a unique format and approach, bringing together the best of the local culture with the best of corporate America. Thanksgiving is a holiday which commemorates the traditional celebration of the harvest. It is usually celebrated around late November or early December. The most common special dishes that are eaten on Thanksgiving are turkey and stuffing, sweet potato pie and cranberry sauce.

What if one day your church wasn’t just a place where people want to go, but a place they want to be? That’s the concept behind our statement program 90 Minute Outreach. We invite you to join us at the end of October for an inspiring, thought-provoking, practical conference that will unite your congregation into a family like never before. It will also make it easier than ever for you to get out into your community and share Christ’s love with the world.

Thanksgiving Ideas for Christian Families

Thanksgiving Ideas for Christian Families
Echo / Getty Images

1 – Read a Thanksgiving Story

Set aside a few moments on Thanksgiving Day to come together and read a Thanksgiving story. One favorite for many families is Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp. For over 25 years, this book has helped children from all backgrounds to gain perspective on broader notions of “giving thanks” based on beliefs of Indigenous peoples. The book serves as a reminder for readers to appreciate the blessings that come from Mother Earth, including the wind, rain, and stars. Chief Jake Swamp was a Mohawk Nation diplomat and the founder of the Tree of Peace Society.

2 – Write a Thanksgiving Poem or Prayer

Take on the project of writing a family Thanksgiving poem or prayer together, allowing each family member to contribute a line or stanza. If you need inspiration, here are a few favorite Thanksgiving prayerspoems, and blessings. Feel free to share them with your family and friends this holiday.

3 – Share Thanksgiving Bible Verses

Ask each family member to read a favorite Bible verse before the Thanksgiving meal. Here are several well-chosen Scriptures on giving thanks including this one in Psalm 107:1, 8-9: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” (NLT)

4 – Remember Thanksgivings Past

During Thanksgiving dinner, ask each family member to share an unforgettable Thanksgiving holiday memory. Don’t forget to include children.

5 – Celebrate With Thanksgiving Communion

Plan a time of family Communion on Thanksgiving Day to give thanks by remembering Christ’s lifedeath, and resurrection. Consider reading the Last Supper Bible story, which forms the biblical basis for Christian Communion. Passages of Scripture that cover the Last Supper are found in Matthew 26:17-30Mark 14:12-25Luke 22:7-20; and John 13:1-30.

6 – Pass on a Thanksgiving Blessing

Invite a surviving spouse, single person, or someone seeking companionship to share in your family Thanksgiving meal. Give a grocery store or gas gift card to a single parent or a family experiencing financial struggles or food insecurity. Take a piece of pie to someone in a nursing home. The possibilities are endless, so put on your collective thinking caps and get ready to be blessed in return.

7 – Hold a Thanksgiving Day Parade or Play

If you really want to get creative, put on your own Thanksgiving Day parade with family members making up the cast. Invite your friends and neighbors to attend. Here are a few more Pilgrim theme ideas to incorporate.

8 – Give a Thanksgiving Offering

Prepare a special Thanksgiving offering to give to a family who may be struggling with food insecurity. Grocery store gift cards are an excellent way to help. If you don’t personally know someone, consider calling your local church. Most churches can direct you to families or persons in need of financial help, especially during the holidays. Also, you might prefer giving to a favorite charity.

9 – Help with a Thanksgiving Meal for Others

Maybe you know someone who is dealing with a serious illness or injury. Shopping for groceries and cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving meal may be too exhausting and expensive for them. Why not lift that burden off their shoulders by letting them know you’ll cook for them at Thanksgiving? Then prepare and deliver their feast, or at least their groceries, in advance.

10 – Enjoy a Thanksgiving Sports Game or Workout

Keep the whole family in shape with an active outdoor game or workout activity designed to burn off those extra Thanksgiving calories. Consider kid-friendly physical activities that can be easily adapted for toddlers, teens, and seniors too. For example, plan a neighborhood football game or a long nature hike for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving Ideas for Church

Church Thanksgiving Ideas Board
Church Thanksgiving Ideas Tour
Church Thanksgiving Ideas Bag
Church Thanksgiving Ideas Share
Church Thanksgiving Ideas Letter

If you are in North America, Thanksgiving is nearly here! While it may not be an international holiday or an event on your liturgical calendar, Thanksgiving is still a fantastic opportunity for the local church to share the gospel and be a light in its community.

Here are 5 ways your church can embrace a heart of thanksgiving during the month of November and beyond…

Thanksgiving Ideas for your church

1. Thankful Board

Your church may already have a bulletin board or wall for people to post prayer requests or other inquiries…but have you tried posting thanks? This is an easy way to give your church members the opportunity to share what they’re thankful for and put the faithfulness of God on full display.

Why we love this:

This costs almost nothing, and most churches already have a bulletin board or wall that they can use to post these declarations of Thanksgiving. This is also the perfect opportunity to share scripture too. Watch as displays of gratitude take over!

2. Tour of Thankfulness

Take the Thankful Board to the next level! Recruit a few members from your church who have experienced God’s blessing this year in profound ways. Then schedule a day for other members to swing by their house and visit as the volunteers recount all the ways God has moved in their lives.

Why we love this

Bringing people together is high on everyone’s list of priorities over the holidays. If building community within your members is something you want, there’s no better way to do that than putting God’s faithfulness at the center.

3. Gift Bags

Want to combine gratitude with evangelism? Have your members meet together to assemble gift bags they can then hand out to their neighbors. These bags can include:

  • Canned goods, to make sure their neighbors have what they need for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Candy
  • Small New Testament Bible
  • Fall-scented candles
  • A flyer inviting the recipient to your church
  • A little note from your church letting the recipient know they are loved and appreciated
Why we love this

This lets your members get creative and show off your church’s hospitality. You never know who might need a little gift on their doorstep with a message of appreciation.

4. Gratitude Report During Service

Make time during each service in November to allow a member to stand on stage and share with the whole congregation something they are thankful for. This is much like sharing a testimony but centered around the theme of gratitude. That way, everyone can share in what God is doing within the rest of the church.

Why we love this

You can turn each service into a mini celebration!

5. Letter Writing Campaign

Plan a time for everyone to get together at the church or in a few homes and write letters together. These letters can be for elderly members, shut-ins, people in the hospital, family members, local ministers, anyone! Let the gratitude flow from the pen to the page while your members bond and enjoy each other’s company.

Why we love this


No matter who you are, we all need the chance to slow down and account for all the things God has done for us. These ideas are a great way to start the practice of pausing and praising God. Your ministry partners at ChurchTrac will be joining alongside you this year as we all thank God for His blessings.

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