Thank God, But Thank People Too

Thank God, But Thank People Too

November 23, 2015 by

Recently I’ve been reflecting on some goodness in my life and doing my best to pause and thank God.

Then I tried something new.

I start tracing back how this goodness came about—the prized introductions, the unique opportunities, the genuine kindness shown and the abundance of slack I’ve been granted… all by people around me.

They didn’t have to. These people had a choice. That’s why we should try an emphasis on thanking each other in this season.

But aren’t we supposed to give all our thanks to God?

It’s easier to whisper, “Thank you, God” than to take time to thank a person.

Yes and no. The New Testament letters are full of personal expressions of thanks—to people! Peter, Paul and John took time to thank other believers, and these mentions became part of scripture.

Since that’s the case, it’s reasonable to imagine similar personal and public expressions of thanks happening in early church gatherings.

So why have we lost this practice?

It’s easier to whisper, “Thank You, God” than to take time to thank a person.

It’s humbling to thank a person, especially those people we may have unintentionally taken for granted. It might even be a little awkward.

Yes, sometimes our church family feels more like the Griswolds than the crew at the Last Supper. But intentionally taking time to thank volunteers and ministry leaders helps us see the good in each other’s hearts.

But aren’t we supposed to give all our thanks to God?

Expressing godly gratefulness to each other doesn’t puff people up. It creates unity, humility and even more thankfulness to God.

Here are some ways to thank people this Thanksgiving:

  • As a church staff, thank each other for specific qualities and contributions (the more specific, the better).
  • Have department leaders thank volunteers for their help both inside and outside the “job description.”
  • Feature volunteers who thank church members for their encouragement, kindness, smiles and tears.
  • Select some church members, and have them express appreciation to senior staff and to department leaders.
  • Create time in an upcoming service for people to thank each other for a kindness. This creates a complete “circle” of thanksgiving in the church. Tell them you remember and God remembers.
  • Encourage your entire congregation to write down the names of three neighbors and coworkers outside the church who they can thank in person, by phone or with a card. This is gratefulness and humility as outreach.

What if God actually wants us to get more comfortable expressing thankfulness to each other as a community and wants us to get more comfortable receiving thanks too?

And what if thanking each other could bring your church closer together, and as a result, make you even more thankful to God?

Post By:

Mike Loomis

Mike Loomis is a church and nonprofit consultant, writer, literary agent, and senior team leader with Vaughn Street and www.MikeLoomis.CO.
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