Phoenix church rediscovers the power of gratitude

By Send Network

“Thank you.”

When you’ve had weeks of long hours and sleepless nights, these two simple words are like honey — “sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

In a world that has almost completely moved digital, the human touch of a hand-written thank- you note is a rare and refreshing commodity.

“The school we serve on a regular basis had everything they needed when the pandemic hit. We saw a lot of churches doing food banks, but our community didn’t need food. So, we came up with the idea to show our gratitude for hospital workers by writing thank you cards for the hospitals in our area,” said Jeremiah Semmler, lead pastor of City View Church in Phoenix, Arizona.


Semmler has been intentional about reaching out to areas of the community where one of their members is already living missionally, so they can leverage their influence.

“We sent thank you cards to St. Joseph’s Hospital, and our lead team member there is Katie. She said it would be really cool if we did the COVID-19 floor and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). People are always thanking the Emergency Room (ER), but other floors rarely get thanked,” he explained. “We reached out to a local sandwich shop across the street from the hospital and arranged for a few hundred sandwiches to be delivered through Katie. The nurses were blown away by the generosity of our people. It was so well received. They displayed every thank-you card we sent.”

Nurses hold up thank you cards from members at City View Church.

There are many ways to thank first responders and hospital staff, and after many late shifts, early mornings and sleepless nights, the aroma of a warm cup of coffee does the soul good in a stressful season.

“After that, we leveraged Allison’s influence at Banner Thunderbird Hospital. We hired a coffee truck (another local business) to park outside the hospital and provided free drinks for any first responders or hospital staff. We planned on provided a little over 100 drinks, but we ended up serving 270. My team talked with the hospital staff in line and shared who we were and why we were doing this.”

First responders wait in line for their free cup of coffee.


The pandemic has undeniably brought many unwanted stressors into our lives, but it’s also opened the door for the church to tangibly display the love of Christ to the community.

“Our church loves to be hands-on. Serving first responders in the community in this way has given our members an opportunity to love our neighbors in this season. I don’t think people realize how powerful a simple thank you is.”

And even though a mass virus is spreading throughout the world, so is the gospel.

“A member of our church has been praying for their child’s friend’s family for a while. This family never wanted to step foot inside a church, but when our services went online, they started watching,” he said. “On Easter they watched, and the mom gave her life to the Lord. She signed up for ‘Discover’ (our class which helps with next steps). They participated in Discover over Zoom, and her husband gave his life to the Lord. Now they’ve signed up to get baptized.”

While there are many things pastors and members could do to continue to share the gospel and serve their community, don’t underestimate the value and power of a simple thank-you and the consistent prayers of God’s people.

Published June 10, 2020

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