This resource is part of a series of interactive, intergenerational ideas for engaging people in faith practices through worship and/or midweek gatherings, brought to you by Worship Ministries and Faith Formation Ministries as part of the Faith Practices Project.
Gratitude is our response of thankfulness for God’s goodness, love, provision, and grace. It is the undercurrent of all other faith practices—the well out of which they flow.
Below you’ll find a variety of intergenerational ideas on this faith practice. Choose from and then use the ideas to shape a summer series, plan a midweek gathering, weave into an all-ages small group study or house church gathering, and more.
There are so many ideas here that you probably won’t need them all. To help make choosing easier, we’ve organized them into three categories:
- Gather activities provide an introduction to the practice through reflection and connection.
- Grow experiences offer an opportunity to explore the practice in community in a way that can be repeated at home.
- Go resources encourage and equip participants to live out the practice.
For a list of other Scripture passages and songs you might also include during your gathering, see the Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Gratitude.
Watch Kid President’s 25 Reasons to Be Thankful! Video.
Invite someone in advance to share a story from their own life about the challenge of being grateful in hard times and what they are learning about God’s goodness in every circumstance.
Read the picture book Thank You, God by J. Bradley Wiggar. Follow Wiggar’s pattern as you create your own psalms of gratitude to God. For example, you might use the categories that Wiggar used, bookending them with the opening and closing lines from the book.
Gratitude stones. Provide each small group with several sets of palm-sized stones on which a heart has been drawn or painted in one of five different colors. (For artistic inspiration see the post How to Make Gratitude Stones.) Assign one of the following categories to each of those colors: a person, a place, a memory, a sound, and a smell. Each person will select and hold a stone while sharing with the group something for which they are grateful in that category. Repeat the practice for as long as time allows. Ask: How might you continue to use the stones at home as a way to practice gratitude? What other categories might you add?
Gratitude alphabets. Provide time for each person to make a list of something for which they are grateful, using each letter of the alphabet. Then get active as you share your lists with each other: call out each letter of the alphabet, pausing for a predetermined amount of time between each letter so that each person has time to find at least one new person with whom to share what they wrote for that letter. Ring a bell or play a fun sound between each letter to signal that it’s time to move.
Gratitude mosaic. Set out a variety of art supplies. Provide each person with a square piece of paper or cardstock on which they can draw, paint, or collage something for which they are grateful. Glue the completed squares onto a large piece of mural paper or posterboard, interspersing them with colored scrapbook paper where desired. Display the finished gratitude mosaic in your church sanctuary or another location.
Send people home with faith practice resources they can use to continue the practices they’ve experienced during your time together. Some ideas:
- A set of “gratitude stones” to use at home. These could be provided even if you opt not to do the GROW activity that uses the stones. Simply prepare a set of stones for each household along with a small card with instructions. A little dish for each set of stones would be a nice touch too!
- Blank thank-you cards, envelopes, stamps, and an encouragement to send someone a thank-you this week
- 5 Ways to Grow Grateful Kids—a free, printable resource for households with children
- Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus—one booklet per person or household