5 great ideas for Thanksgiving church services

A powerful sermon is key to a great Thanksgiving service, but it isn't the only thing you can do to engage members on this day of gratitude. To elevate your members' experience and engage them on a deeper level, think outside the box this year with these great ideas.

1. Wall of thanks

Create a visual reminder of thankfulness by covering a wall in the entryway of the church with blank white paper. From young to old, invite everyone to write down something they are thankful for. The result is a lovely collection of positive thoughts that encourage an attitude of gratitude.

2. Video gratitude

Create a video ahead of time asking all church staff individually what they are grateful for. If your church has a school, you may even ask select students from each grade. Then create a video compilation that can be shown during church services and posted on social media.

3. Pie and prayer

Instead of a traditional coffee hour, adopt a Thanksgiving-themed twist and add pie, the perfect complement to coffee. This family-friendly event allows members to gather and enjoy a slice together and catch up before the hustle of the holiday.

4. Youth engagement

It's simple for adults to realize gratitude on Thanksgiving, but it's more difficult for children to understand all the blessings in their lives. Whether it's part of the service or Sunday school, make sure to plan teachings around gratitude for youth. This could be with music, a sharing activity or a puppet show.

5. Host drives

Many churches host food drives in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. On the day of Thanksgiving you could host a drive for a specific item to help those in need in your own community. For example, have a sock drive for the homeless shelter, a diaper drive for the local women's group or a mitten drive for children in need at local schools.

Remember, depending on the size of your church, make sure you offer different times for Thanksgiving service to accommodate holiday travel. Many people will attend the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving, but some may like to attend church on Thanksgiving Thursday. Even if you can't offer a Thanksgiving Day service, keep the building open all day to encourage prayer.