Leading Your Groups to Habitual Gratitude

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Presenting our new online training course – “Align!” Align will help you learn the small group ministry essentials. It features…

  • 8 HD video session taught by Steve Gladen
  • A downloadable workbook
  • Lesson discussion questions
  • An official Small Group Network completion certificate
  • A special gift to help further your Small Group Ministry

Learn more by watching the free course introduction & ENROLL HERE!

A few years back I noticed a theme. Every year around Thanksgiving we would do a study on gratitude. Inevitably I would hear something like this…

  • We ought to be grateful all year long
  • We are not nearly as grateful as we should be
  • We need to try harder

Next year; same thing.

If I were honest, I’d have to say that I not only heard these things, I lived it. Every year I would be reminded that I need to be more grateful than I was.

This got me thinking and a few years back I tried something different. As I meditated on gratitude, I made some observations:

  • Gratitude is Step One in coming to God. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” (Psalm 100.4)
  • Gratitude is an activity as well and an attitude. We can’t directly control the attitude. We can directly control the activity.
  • By regularly practicing a gratitude activity every day, we train our minds toward habitual thoughts of gratitude that leads to the habitual attitude of gratitude. I think this is what the Bible means by “train yourselves to be godly.” (1 Timothy 4.7)

With these observation in mind, I started the practice of thanking God for twenty things before I went to bed at night. I used my fingers and toes as reminders. With my left hand I would think of five family members I was thankful for; with my right hand I would think of five other people. I would try to savor and really think about how much I appreciate having these people in my life. Sometimes, I would imagine life without them. Then, I would think of five physical things (left toes) and five spiritual things (right toes) I was grateful for.

It didn’t happen in a day, but before long I began to notice something changing. My first thoughts in the morning were often, “Thank God I have a warm house and a soft bed.” I have some little brown slippers I put on when I fist get up and would thank God for those little brown slippers that protect my feet from the cold, hard floor. (I used to have feet troubles so this is kind of a big deal to me.) I found myself having spontaneous, unbidden thoughts of gratitude throughout the day. An attitude of gratitude was no longer wishful thinking.

I began to teach my group on these things. By the grace of God, they are becoming a reality.

I have prepared a lesson you could use for your group to lead them to develop the practice of gratitude until it becomes a habit that leads to an action. https://www.joshhunt.com/2020/10/30/the-habit-of-gratitude-small-group-bible-lesson/

Announcing our new online training course that features 7 total video session taught by Saddleback Church Online Pastor Jay Kranda, downloadable notes & lesson discussion questions! Learn more by watching the free course introduction & enroll HERE!

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