6 Ways to Create a Culture of Gratitude in Your Church
What culture does your ministry have? Is it one of gratitude and thanks, or an unhealthy culture that undermines your church mission?
This Church Executive article highlights author Samuel R. Chand’s definition of church culture. “Culture is the strongest force in any organization. The best way to understand culture is the statement: ‘This is how we do things here.’”
Ask yourself how your church functions to shine a light on your ministry's culture. If you think your church could find more ways to be grateful, give thanks, or share appreciation, keep reading for six ways to create a culture of gratitude in your church.
Lead By Example with Gratitude
Culture starts at the top, so church leaders must pour extra energy into cultivating a grateful community. Forbes outlines gratitude as a central leadership skill that must be intentional, frequent, and authentic in order to have a positive and lasting impact.
Think about how you integrate gratitude into your church leadership style. Do you make an active effort to spread happiness by being thankful for God and for your people? Everyone likes to be appreciated, and doing so in your ministry could boost morale, bring joy, and increase productivity in your workers.
Be Grateful for Your Volunteers
Church volunteers make the ministry go around. These hardworking and enthusiastic people who are generous with their time are an essential element of any church, but do you express gratitude for all they do? Take it upon yourself to set a culture in which your church leaders frequently voice how much they value each volunteer.
Get creative with your recognition methods by incorporating a few different ways of saying thanks that extend beyond those two little words. Read our blog for some interesting ideas, including church volunteer appreciation gifts which are a generous and thoughtful way to make someone smile, and church social media posts to shine a spotlight on a worker.
Speak Thankfully to Your People
Your workers and volunteers may feel the love, but what about your congregation? As a pastor or church leader, you may assume your congregation knows you care about them, but don’t fall into the trap of assumption. Make a regular effort to show your church community that you are grateful for them and their unfaltering faith.
Lifeway Research suggests a systematic approach to ensure consistency. Say “thank you for being a part of our community” weekly during your sermons, identify and focus on a reason to be thankful monthly, tell your church you love them quarterly, and preach from a text that tells us to be thankful yearly. Put these dates in your calendar so you won't forget!
Celebrate in Others’ Successes
Extend your gratitude to others and share in the successes of people across your community. Be grateful every time God blesses your community and celebrate with your people through announcements, congratulations, and social media posts.
Share the good news on your church's Twitter and Instagram accounts to support local businesses, people, and movements. Even if someone isn’t directly involved in your church, you can be grateful for all they achieve within your community. Gratitude breeds gratitude, so don’t limit it, but give thanks with a grateful heart for everything.
Create Moments for Gratitude
If your goal is to build a culture of gratitude, you must always be on the lookout for opportunities to give it. Sometimes life can get you down, and you have to create moments that inspire people to give thanks. Be the reason why people remember why they are grateful, and it will create a knock-on effect of more thanks.
One example is making a canvas for everyone in your church to sign with the reasons why they are thankful. Write “gratitude” in calligraphy in the center of a page and encourage everyone in your church to decorate the page with reasons why they are grateful and display it at the entrance of your church as a reminder.
Be Grateful with Celebrations
Everyone loves an excuse to get together and celebrate, so why not use gratitude as the reason? We already have holidays centered on sharing gratitude (think Thanksgiving) but there is no need to stop there. Incorporate “in all things give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) into the day-to-day running of your church and transform all your church events into moments of appreciation.
A short speech at the start of a church fundraising event will bring everyone’s focus back to their reasons for gratitude. Similarly, saying grace collectively before eating at a potluck dinner is a given, but take it a step further and be thankful for more than God and the food, but the friendship and community you have found in each other, too.
Church leaders must lead their ministry by example and make gratitude an essential part of how your church functions. Assuming your people know they are appreciated isn’t good enough – you must tell them how thankful you are for their presence in your community. Be grateful and share your gratitude with your people. As gratitude is contagious, it will grow more and more with each time you give thanks.