Thanksgiving Cloud | UMC YoungPeople
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November 2017

Thanksgiving Cloud

By Jeremy Steele

We have a lot to be thankful for! However, many times when we approach the idea of thankfulness we focus on the material things that fill our lives. We are thankful for a roof over our head, food to eat, etc. This simple lesson will help us think about another category that is worthy of our thanks: People.


Have everyone begin in pairs. Each pair will choose someone to be the “name sayer” and someone to be the “thanks giver.” On the count of three the “name sayer” will say their full, legal name. While they are saying their name, the “thanks giver” will have to say thank you to the “name sayer” for something. They can say anything from “Thank you for being awesome” to “Thank you for being a snappy dresser.” The key is they have to begin their sentence with “Thank you for…”

Whoever finishes first wins. The loser sits down and the winner goes on to challenge another person.

If you have less people or want to extend the game, make it double elimination.


Intro the lesson by talking about the importance of being thankful. Lead with these questions about material things:

What item of clothing are you most thankful for?

What part of your home are you most thankful for?

What book or game are you most thankful for?

Now let’s think about another level of thankfulness. As we read this scripture, be listening for things to be thankful for:

Read Hebrews 12:1-3

The great cloud of witnesses is talking about people in our lives and people who have gone before us. What does the writer of Hebrews mean by the term witnesses? Witnesses to what?

Right after the statement about being surrounded by witnesses, the writer says we should throw off sin and follow Jesus. How do witnesses help us do that?

It ends talking about Jesus enduring the cross and calling us to not get tired. How can/should that help motivate us to not grow weary of following Jesus?

It all started with the cloud of witnesses. Take a moment to identify who is in your cloud of witnesses. Who inspires you to follow Jesus?

Now, take out your phone (or have them write a note) and send a message to one or two of them and say “Thank you for ___________ that really helps me when I’m struggling spiritually” or something like that.

Close in prayer.

When he's not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy is the associate pastor at Los Altos UMC in Los Altos, CA. Jeremy has spent over twenty years working in youth and children's ministry and continues to train children and youth workers as well as writing and speaking extensively in that field. His most recent book is the "All the Best Questions." You can find a list of all his books, articles, and resources for churches at