The best way to care for those in our church who may be alone on Thanksgiving is to invite them to your family gathering, or find others in your church who would be willing to take them in. This takes some effort by the pastor, or someone else in the church who has the time and desire to ask around, find out who is in town, and put people together. Yet, I would argue this effort is worth it.
Just this morning I recieved word that a young single and a widow in our church were staying in town and had no where to go. Because I had already asked around to see who was having people over within our church, I was able to graciously impose on these folks in our church who were more than willing to set one more place setting at the table for these alone for the holidays.
I also have fond memories of my father bringing surprise guests over for Thanksgiving. Do not underestimate the impact this has on your children and other family present as they see you reach out to care for your brother or sister in Christ with no family to spend Thanksgiving with them.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but it may not be too late to connect young singles and widows to some hospitable folks in your church who desire to minister the gospel in this way. If you cannot reach anyone… take them home with you. This post was originally inspired by my father who almost every year brought some elderly widow home with him on Thanksgiving who he discovered at the last minute was alone.
A related post that also applies to this question as Christmas approaches is this previous post How can you serve widow during the holidays?
Make sure you are grateful tomorrow. There is much reason to hope in Christ regardless your circumstances!
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Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children, son, Samuel and daughters, Abby, Isabelle, and Claire. He has served in pastoral ministry for over fifteen years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University receiving his B.A. in Sociology. He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is also the author of Visit the sick: Ministering God’s grace in times of illness (foreword by Mark Dever) and Test, train, affirm, and send into Ministry: Recovering the local church’s responsibility to the external call (foreword by R. Albert Mohler Jr.). Both of these volumes are published by Day One in their pastoral series designed to serve pastors, church leaders, and those training for local church ministry. Brian has also published Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography and Conduct Gospel-centered Funerals (co-written with Phil Newton).
A Faith That Endures: Meditations on Hebrews 11 is Brian’s newest book, released in fall of 2011. His next book on The Pastor’s Family, co-authored with his wife, is due to be released by Zondervan in Fall 2013.
To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.