By Matthew Schultz
As we think about ministry at Thanksgiving, do we ever consider doing “Thanksgifting”? No, that’s not a typo—it’s a unique way to think about ministry as we come up on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is meant to be a day when we stop and give thanks for all that God has given us over the past year: our jobs, families, homes, health, and our churches are what usually come to mind.
How often do we think about those unique gifts God has given us to uniquely reveal his grace? All the men of your church are gifted individuals. Some have a musical ability, others may be skilled handymen, and still others are great relationship builders—not to mention spiritual gifts that your men have. God gave your men these abilities so they could be a blessing to those around them.
What if this Thanksgiving you and your men’s ministry looked to do some “thanksgifting”?
All the men in your church or your men’s ministry are gifted individuals. Their interests, skills, and experiences are as varied as they are. Your men’s ministry could be the perfect catalyst for giving these guys an opportunity to be who God created them to be and to bless others. What better time is there than Thanksgiving to make this endeavor?
Now the question is, how do I begin this effort in my men’s ministry? At your next men’s ministry gathering, make it a point to steer the conversation toward what everyone likes to do in their free time. As they listen to each other, they will learn about each other and deepen their relationships. At the same time, they’ll also start to develop an inventory for ministry ideas.
Suppose your group of guys really loves to barbecue. They all have smokers in their backyards that have been sitting idle since Labor Day. You could host a smoked turkey or brisket meal for the community—each man cooks their food and brings it to a gathering place. Your men could smoke meats, deliver them to a homeless shelter together, and serve a meal. They could smoke turkeys and sell them as a fundraiser for a partner ministry in your community. They’ll get to do what they love: have fun, build community, and bless their neighbors all at the same time.
What if your group really loves to build things? Maybe you have a DIY hall of fame in the seats of your church. During that long Thanksgiving weekend, after the turkey is cold and everyone’s watched so much football they’re seeing hash marks in their sleep, the men can partner with your community on a project that needs completion. It could be anything from light remodeling at a community center to building new planters for Main Street. Your men could use their gifts to open new doors for your church, simply by using the talents God has given them.
These are just a couple examples of how to leverage your men’s ministry for Gospel-focused community service. A few other suggestions:
- Volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club to take some kids fishing over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
- Host a free car maintenance day.
- Help the elderly and homebound with their Thanksgiving shopping by taking them to the store or delivering needed items.
- Host an international Thanksgiving with international students from a nearby college or university.
The service opportunities are endless because God’s gifts to his church are endless. So gather up the guys. Do a little brainstorming. See who and what the Spirit has placed in your congregation. Then go and have an amazing “Thanksgifting.”