Congregation Thanksgiving Day on the Christian Mountain
November 18, 2012am   from I Thessalonians 1:1-10

by Ronald George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church

The first modern day congregation appreciation day is to be held beginning on this Sunday before Thanksgiving Day,  November 18, 2012.  I think we need to establish a day in which all pastor’s give thanks to God for the congregation that they serve, but also to thank the congregation for allowing us the privilege of being their pastor.  Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to thank the hand that feeds us.  Surely we are grateful and humbled  by the fact of the choosing of God and church on our behalf.  It is thanksgiving Sunday and it is time to thank those who love you support you and pray for you.  What about those who don’t love you and support you?  Love them anyway.  They may be in need of some pastoral attention and love. 
I Thessalonians  1     Paul, Silasa and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you.b   2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
From the pew to the pulpit and back.

  1.  We thank God for you the congregation
  2. We always thank God for all of you.
  3. We mentioon you in our prayers.
  4. We remember you work produced by faith.
  5. We remember your labor prompted by  love.
  6. We remember your endurance through the hope we have in Jesus. 
  7. We remember that God has chosen you.
  8. We remember that  you shared the gospel with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction.
  9. We remember that you became an imitator of the Lord Jesus Christ
  10. We remember that you welcomed the message with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
  11. We remember that the Lord’s message rang out from you and your life is known  by all.
  12. We remember how you received the messengers and the message of God.
  13. We remember that you turned from the idols of the world to the true and living God. 

            I think we forget that the folks in our congregations have a history and now that history includes us.  If in that past the preacher types have been cruel, uncaring, and selfish types then these folks may not have a very good taste in their mouth when it comes to pastor’s.  Who knows you may have been the one called for such a time as this.  You may be the one who has been called to come into the  bee hive and stir things up so that the Lord’s worship and work can once again take priority on this side of the hill.  Well, I have heard many philosphies on pastoring a church.  Pastoral Care is one of the big issues we must all learn in the school of hard knocks.  Sure the class and the professor might tell you what to do and ask you to write a 20 page paper detailing your pastoral care, but do you care?  That is learned in the church when someone backs you up against the wall and threatens to kill you if you don’t comply. 
            So, now you have this church and this person who wants to lead them to the promise land.  But how are you going to do it and are you willing to pay the price to get ‘er done?  First question I want to know is do you care about them, or are you only con -cerned about yourself and your reputation?  If you care are you willing to pay the price for admission to the promised land?  You have to pay that not them.  They are sheep seeking a shepherd, but then the shepherd comes along and drives some of them away and just decides to isolate the troubled ones so the rest can go on.  I have seen herd animals do this to those in the flock who are crippled or sick.  But in the church we would never think of leaving those behind, that is a soul and each one is so important that we will leave the rest behind to go find the lost one. 
Church of Faith Tabernacle:  your love seen in the singing and the fact that you have sacrificed to build God’s house. 
Church of God:  your love seen in your labor of love in helping people through the storms. 
Church of Christ Fellowship:  Your music to honor God, your work in teaching the youth, and your leadership in promoting the fellowship of the believers.
Church of United  Methodist:  Your afterschool program, your reaching out to give food to the needy and the free chilli feed. 
Church of the Pleasant View:  your continual witness and out reach to the community in VBS and work with the brethren. 
Church of the Presbyteria:  Your work with our children in helping them to  become people of God with your playschool program. 
Church of the Baptist:  Your willingness to support, join and encourage others with your time talents and treasures. 
Church of the New River Baptist:  Your work to build and repair by using what God has given you for others. 
Church at Gatewood of Baptists:  your outreach to the needy children of your community with coats and gloves.
All:  Fellowship, worship, outreach to the community youth through the crew center. 

More to do 

a Greek Silvanus, a variant of Silas

b Some early manuscripts you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (1 Th 1:1-10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.