As we approach Thanksgiving, you might be wondering, "What can I do? How can I demonstrate the love of Christ during this season?" Here are a few suggestions:
• One pastor told how his congregation purchased certificates from a local grocery chain for $30 apiece which entitled the recipients to a free Thanksgiving meal. They hand delivered approximately fifty certificates to local needy families expressing that in a season of thankfulness, Christ is everything!
• Another pastor shared how they adopted women from a local battered women's shelter and provided them with a safe haven to experience Christ's love.
• A church might ask permission from the local hospital to take coffee, sweets, and goodies to the hospital waiting room. Church members should be ready to listen, love, and share!
• While some churches may provide volunteers to feed at homeless shelters, one church leader explained that they actually picked up the homeless from the local shelter and brought them back to their church with the goal of feeding, serving, loving, and affirming their worth to God.
• A person can do the same by adopting college students, neighbors, and co-workers who have no place to go for Thanksgiving.
• A church can provide meals or dessert for the local police or fire stations.
• Finally, disperse your congregation into Wal-Mart parking lots and malls across your area very early (at least an hour before the stores open) on the morning after Thanksgiving. Provide them with plentiful supplies of donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate to give away free to those waiting in line to get into the stores.
In each of the above suggestions, be ready to respond with the Gospel as the Holy Spirit opens the doors. As one friend reminded me, "It's never Thanksgiving ... until it first becomes Thanks-living in us!"
David Wheeler is the NAMB appointee for Church Planting, Professor of Evangelism, Church Planting, and Student Ministries, and Associate Director of the Church Planting Center for Liberty Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Virginia.