A friend of mine is the senior pastor of a church that just celebrated 130 years of ministry. They celebrated in a number of cool ways:
- Transforming their annual fall festival into a shrimp boil hosted by various ministry groups.
- Preaching a four-week sermon series.
- Aligning the celebration with the church’s stewardship campaign.
- Providing grants to people and groups who felt that God was calling them to start new ministries in the community.
Over all these different efforts was one word: Impact. The church was celebrating the impact God had made on its campus, the community and the lives of its members.
One member of the church got so excited about the anniversary that he volunteered to put together a magazine celebrating the anniversary (which I had the opportunity to edit). In the magazine were articles about what was going on in each ministry, lists and pictures of each small group or Sunday school class, and even a note from the senior pastor welcoming people to the celebration and sharing what a typical week in his life and ministry looks like. One of the magazine’s coolest features was a detailed story of the church’s history, beginning in 1881, and how it fit within the larger history of the denomination. A few pages later, a pastor detailed the current “small church family” culture of the congregation, and pages after that, a different pastor wrote about the satellite campus God led he and his wife to start through the larger 130-year-old church. Throughout the magazine pictures of the church’s life and words from its people wove together a powerful story of what God has done in the past 130 years.
The magazine was personal and moving. It got me thinking: What potential is there for churches who effectively celebrate and communicate their past? This church’s Impact campaign was far-reaching. From the pulpit, through the website and in the magazine, it reminded people what God had done in the past, what he was doing in the present and how he was leading them into the future.
There’s opportunity here! I know another church that just celebrated its first birthday, and they did some cool stuff for that too. What is your church’s history and how can you tell it through pictures, stories, sermons, snazzy brochures, your website, etc.?
God continues to do amazing things in his people and the world, and one of our jobs is to get people on board to see it.