This past week I celebrated another birthday. Time sure does fly when you are getting old. Growing up I got to pick what I wanted to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on my birthday. And I still try to live by this motto. If I’m honest, I try to stretch that privilege out longer than just one day! Birthdays are special and should be celebrated.
The Way I See It…
Churches have birthdays and should be celebrated! We typically call these church anniversaries. Celebrating milestones honors what God has done. Here are four ways to celebrate your church’s milestones.
- Invite a strategic guest speaker from the past – Contact a previous pastor to come back and speak. Ask him to preach God’s word, but also work in stories of how God moved in the congregation and community while he pastored there. Ask him to share what he led the church through during his tenure, victories or trials. Then, tie in the significance of what God accomplished during that time and how it translates to what God is doing in the present.
- Invite charter members or family members – this might be more difficult in some settings. If you are unable to find any charter members, have a current member read the vision behind the birth of the church from archives. Why was this church started? What was the founding group’s dream for this church? What did the church starters have to sacrifice? How do these stories resemble where God is taking your church today?
- Invite the community Family picnic – Make it a fun day for everyone, including kids. If there is anything kids understand, it’s a birthday celebration! Get bouncy houses, live music and have a church picnic. It’s not just about eating, although that is a highlight, it’s about creating an atmosphere that allows people to share with one another around the table. Be mindful of new people joining you and ask regular attendees to sit with them to make them feel welcome. This is the time to act like the loving family you claim to be.
- Invite reflection by giving a state of the union address – Deliver a word about where the church has been in the last year. Be honest about the tough things but lean more heavily on the side of the good God has accomplished in your midst. Where has God provided for the church? How has God moved the church forward? Who has seen victory in their life through a relationship with Christ in the past year? You might even work these personal testimonies into your state of the union address. Spend half the time recalling what He has done in your past year and the other half of the time casting a vision for where He wants to take you in this next year.
Church birthdays are special, but the real celebrity is Jesus. Make the day about what he has done. And lean into the next step on your journey of being a great commission church.