Relationship strategies to use this Thanksgiving to bless our families

by Jim on November 20, 2012


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode 21

Rev. Jim W. Hollis, Executive Director of Proactive Ministries (

Welcome to this Ministry Encouragement Podcast.  This is the twenty-first Episode and today I will be discussing the joys and challenges of our families for this Thanksgiving holiday.  We have many memories of Thanksgiving, perhaps when we were children and some of those memories are positive while others may be difficult.

This year I would like for us to consider together some:

 Four Relationship strategies to use this Thanksgiving to bless our families 

There are four key relationship strategies that each of us can utilize which can make this holiday one of the best ever in our lives together as families.  These are:

1) Sharing a warm and affirming greeting with everyone we encounter this year from the start

  • We take a brief look at the greetings in the letters of St. Paul in the New Testament.  Paul starts his earliest ones with a general greeting and as he matures in his own faith and ministry, he then begins to refer to the persons in the churches as “saints” – taking the high road, seeing the best in others, and affirming them for the very positive things they are doing, though knowing there are problems in every church.
  • We can do the same this year.  Sure we have relatives who are struggling and we all have issues in our lives.  But rather than being reserved, distant or allowing those things to color our greetings of one another, why not take “the high road” and greet everyone we meet with sincere joy and thanks for the opportunity to share the holiday?

2) Take opportunities to bring Scripture stories from the Old and New Testaments into the conversations we share

  • There are families who intentionally take a portion of their holiday time to share the old stories of Scripture together as a family.  This can be very powerful and meaningful.  Many of us may recall our grandparents or great grandparents being Christians who spoke to us about the things of God, stories of the Bible and other aspects of the faith.  It takes us back and allows us to collectively share some of these memories that we cherish, while also passing along important memories we hold dear to those who are either new in the family or young children who have never heard these things shared as a part of their heritage.
  • We can choose some of the most familiar stories in the Old and New Testaments.  Here are just a few of many:

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden;  the Calling of Abraham;  the people of Israel being delivered from slavery to the Egyptians and many surrounding this theme;  Daniel in the Lions den; Noah and the ark;  Jonah and the great fish;  David as King and his many falls from grace, yet still remaining a man after God’s own heart;  and others in the Old Testament.

Then there are many more from the New Testament as well:  the announcement to Mary of having Jesus;  Jesus’ birth in the manger; Jesus’ early years and his being in the Temple with the elders;  miracle stories when Jesus was in his ministry;  the many parables that Jesus shared with the world of his day; the Cross; the empty tomb and Jesus appearing to many disciples after the resurrection.  These only represent a few.

  • These can be shared with the children and adults together.  We can recall which stories we may remember those wonderful relatives who lived before us shared with us that we still carry in our hearts.

3) Share and celebrate the joy and blessing of prayer and praying together

  • We can not only have a quick blessing over the food, but I explore with us how we can engage our entire family in an opportunity for praying together.  Yet, we want to be sensitive to not have anyone feel they are pressured to participate in prayer or pray aloud.  There is a wonderful way to do this that I discuss.

4) Discuss and share how using Social Media tools may keep families in touch beyond the holidays so that our relationships may be strengthened

  • Perhaps there are relatives that we hardly ever see or communicate with between major holidays.  We can raise the possibility of our staying in contact with each other through Social Media tools that are so readily available for families today:

Some of these are:  Email; Facebook; Twitter; and other forms of communications via the internet such as Skype calls, video calls – with many of these being free.  Even if there are relatives who are not computer savvy, we can still share about the possibility of being able to help them get going in some of the power of sharing through these tools.

  • We can model some of this with each other that those who don’t know about it can witness the ease of using these tools while we are together this holiday.

Finally, I would love to continue to hear from you all.  You can reach me in several ways personally with your thoughts, feedback and comments that you would like to add to our discussion.  I post many of the comments on this blog that goes along with the Ministry Encouragement Podcast.  Here’s how to stay in touch:

To email me directly:

To leave a voicemail, use the TAB on the right side of this blog.  Click on it with your mouse and then use your computer microphone to leave a voicemail which will come to me.

You can reach me on our Website for Proactive Ministries:

You can call our Atlanta area ministry offices: (770) 803-9988

THANK YOU for sharing our Ministry Encouragement Podcast with others you know.  This Thanksgiving it could be a great time to let others in your family know about it and encourage them to subscribe and download Episodes that they may be encouraged in Christ.

May God bless each of you and again, thank you for sharing in the ministry of this podcast.

Rev. Jim W. Hollis


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