Thanksgiving Got Intentional This Year

Thanksgiving has been a special time for our church. We have a huge dinner on the grounds where everyone brings a side dish or dessert. We have the Fry Daddies out all day cooking up turkeys. We have games for the kids. The adults sit around and enjoy the nice weather. It’s one of our most attended ‘events’ held at River. 

This year we decided to get crazy! We didn’t have the budget to go all out with fun jumps and inflatables and such and the Children’s Director and I started scratching our heads thinking about what it is we were doing. See we’re a church that subscribes to Orange-ology. The concept that 2 combined influences are greater than 1. That the church should be equipping families not providing another go to event/activity where parents drop off their kids and pick them up several hours later after someone else has poured into them on how to play soccer, play the piano, play well with others, etc. It’s when we realized that’s exactly what we were doing with our most widely attended event of the church! Parents come in and drop off their kids at the inflatable games while they go visit with other adults and see them sometime around dinner. So we asked the question: 

Why not get strategically intentional with the most highly attended event of the year?!?!?!

Scary to think it took a lack of budget for us to ask that question isn’t it! 
Well we did! We moved our Thanksgiving Day feast up an hour and incorporated Field Day activities that would engage communities whether you were a family of 3 or 6, whether you were a couple, whether you were a friend, whether you were part of a small group but communities to get together and play together. The day looked like this:

My apologies for the crappy video quality, but worth the watch!!!  


  • 2:30- Registration into teams and for pie eating contest. Time filler games begin.
  • 3:00- Let the games begin! Everyone was put into 4 different groups and participated in field day activities. 
  • 4:00- “Winners” announced and pray for the food. 
  • 4:15- Time to eat!
  • 4:45- Pie eating contest

Each event had a “winner” but I was also running around passing out sticky notes for random silliness like enthusiasm, cheering, chanting, jumping jacks, etc. We played it very “Who’s Line is it Anyway” where we keep score but the points don’t matter. In the end the team with the most kids “won.” We also incorporated a Wipeout/MXC aspect to the day with Max Ego and April Showers as our game day commentators! They were hysterical and kept those on the sidelines in stitches 🙂 

The outcome: TREMENDOUS SUCCESS! Even those who had arrived late or who weren’t engage but gathering along the outskirts of the activities were in community with one another and had smiles on their faces from ear to ear! Those in the games were having so much fun, it was hard to keep up with everyone’s enthusiasm! The most amazing thing to me was to truly see the intergenerational playing going on! 3rd graders with high schoolers with Moms and Dads! It was awesome! 

Our lack of budget this year for Thanksgiving was the greatest blessing God gave us for Thanksgiving 🙂


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