3 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Your Ministry

By Christine Bove

We are so grateful for the work pastors and ministry leaders are doing on a regular basis to spread the Gospel. We know it’s hard work. We come alongside you and see the amount of heart, sweat, tears, and prayers you pour out over your ministries.

Ministry can be tiring and grueling. It’s easy to get caught up in the “get it done” attitude of it all and forget to be present and appreciate how far you and your ministry have come.

If this is you, we want to help bring a spark of gratitude in your life and in your ministry.

We don’t want you to forget the incredible things you are doing. And, more importantly, the incredible things God is doing through you and for you.

Three ways to cultivate gratitude

1. Make your gratitude tangible

Tangible expressions of gratitude make it more practical. Throughout the Bible, we read about how the Israelites built monuments or obtained tokens of remembrance. These altars and items reminded them of what God had done through them and for them.

Prayer makes your gratitude tangible. Praying and thanking God for what He has done creates the posture of gratitude on a daily basis. Praying for your staff and volunteers also is greatly encouraging to them in the moment, and it inspires them to do the same for others.

Combined with prayer, one of the most tangible ways of remembering gratitude is through journaling. Journaling can be as simple as writing down things you are thankful for, giving God gratitude for the many blessings He provides. It is also a place to process and record what happens in your life. Journaling turns into a “history” book of sorts about your journey with God. By journaling, you can look back at how God has led you through the different seasons of your life.

Why journal? Journaling helps us to remember, and remembrance fosters gratitude. Besides journaling, there are other ways to record testimonies of God’s faithfulness, such as creating art, writing and performing music, and creating pictures. You could also collect nature and artifacts that mean something of what God has done in your life, or create a statue or stained glass artwork that represents something God did for the community.

We have an incredible podcast episode on this very topic of gratitude in ministry! Click here to listen to our podcast with our CEO, Nathan Camp.

2. Tell people you are grateful for them

Gratitude begets gratitude. As a leader, you want to create a culture of humility and gratitude with the people who serve alongside you every day.

This doesn’t need to be extreme, as simple, intentional gestures that mean a lot to others will go a long way with people who do ministry with you. Here are some examples of what those gestures may look like:

  • Writing a card. While this may seem simplistic, a well-meaning card or note with intentional words of gratitude can mean the world to someone. After all, they are pouring their hearts into the ministry alongside you.
  • Staff and volunteer shout-outs. If you hold staff meetings or volunteer huddles, be sure to tell your staff and volunteers you are grateful for them! Tell them one-on-one or all-together in a group. Again, these simple gestures let people know you see their hard work and you greatly appreciate their investment in the ministry.
  • Social media. Share on social media about the various teams and individuals you are thankful for. Not only is this intentional, but it also fosters gratitude within your congregation. They publicly see your gratitude for the serving, and it inspires them to think about whom they, too, are grateful for. You can also publicly state your gratitude towards your community and congregation! Everyone loves to be appreciated.

As the leader, your actions and attitude set the tone for your ministry! If you are grateful, others will follow in your footsteps. Again, gratitude begets gratitude.

We listed free options for showing gratitude. However, if you are interested in purchasing gifts for your staff or volunteers, look to this blog here about how to give them in a manner compliant with IRS regulations.

3. Create moments for gratitude

Gratitude can be hard to grasp if it isn’t made practical. One way to translate gratitude into something tangible for your community is to have an altar call centered around gratitude. If you speak on a topic around gratitude, it’s helpful to have something right then and there that your listeners can latch onto to make the lesson more real.

There are many creative ways to have people remember the spirit of gratitude. Below are a few examples:

  • Have a canvas to sign. One example is to have canvases within your altar call so people can write down what or whom they are thankful for. I’ve seen it done where, in the center, the word “Thankful” is written in beautiful calligraphy, and people signed what they were thankful for in fall-themed colors. These canvases can be displayed somewhere in the sanctuary of the church or in an office.
  • Provide cards for people to write what they are thankful for. You can provide easels or wooden pallets for people to attach a card they have written. You can attach these cards with clothespins, nails, or tape. This creates a wonderful opportunity for people to not only write their own card but to also see other people’s gratitude cards as well.
  • Host a Friendsgiving potluck for your church. After a church service, you can host a banquet with your church community. You can invite people to bring food or provide a meal for them! Either way, hosting a Friendsgiving feast creates community and fosters gratitude with each other.
  • Create small group activities centered around gratitude. You can have your small group communities ponder on the topic of gratitude. This is also a great way to do a series follow-up to hone in on the topics discussed. Small groups can also do their own activities, such as a Friendsgiving and community service projects.
  • Interact with your church community through social media. This is a great way to get people to respond to your posts, and it serves as a consistent reminder to be thankful!

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Cultivating a culture of gratitude

Gratitude not only begets gratitude, but it also fosters joy. Thankfulness creates joy, and joy from the Lord sees us through the blessings and the trying times. Joy and gratitude are contagious, especially when they are genuine in your own life and within your ministry.

Thank you for all that you do! Pastors and ministry leaders, it is your attitude, joy, and humility that is so inspiring and reminds us of God’s love for us. We pray this season will be a blessing to you as you have been to your communities.

At StartCHURCH, we know leading a ministry can be tiring. We see how hard you all work, and we want to encourage and inspire you.

We have created a podcast specifically to help inspire, equip, and encourage you on your ministry journey. We cover a variety of topics, all to better serve you! We cover topics of church planting, ministry leadership, administration, and compliance. All the topics we cover are to better serve you and inspire you to go to the next level of your ministry.

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