Church anniversaries are milestones that should be celebrated with special services. Whether the congregation is just starting out or has held services for decades, anniversaries of special church services should be promoted and celebrated, especially the 50th, 75th and 100th anniversaries. Anniversary celebrations can be formal occasions that require much planning or informal, spontaneous times of praise and thanksgiving.
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All About Praise
Instead of a regular service with the normal order of business and the usual sermon, hold a service of praise and prayer. This type of service can reflect the gratitude of the congregation for their church and celebrate their blessings. Include children by having them kick off the celebration with praise songs, complete with appropriate hand motions and gestures. The children can lead the congregation in singing at least one song and teach the adults the right motions. The worship team or choir should also focus on leading the congregation in praise songs. Between praise songs, members of the congregation should be encouraged to stand up and praise or thank God for some aspect of the church ministries that has positively touched their lives or families. End the service with a time of spontaneous prayer for the congregation.
Happy Birthday Celebration
For those big anniversaries like the 25th, 50th, 75th or 100th, hold a "Happy Birthday" celebration. Decorate the church with "Happy Birthday" signs and banners created by the different Sunday school classes. Some weeks before the celebration, promote a contest for birthday signs. Each child in Sunday school can create a small birthday sign on a piece of cardstock. Leave a hole for a ribbon at the top of the signs, so they can be hung up. As well, have each class work on a class poster-sized sign or a banner. At the celebration, give awards to both individuals and classes that make the most original or most colourful (throw in just about any superlative) signs. Serve a birthday cake with the icing that reads, "Happy 50th Anniversary" (or whichever anniversary year you are celebrating).
Research early members of the congregation. From letters, documents and other information they have left behind and from stories from their descendants, tell the history of the church through the eyes of those who lived it. Talk to elderly members, and record their stories of the church and what holding services has meant to them. Ask for and copy pictures of the early church, early church services and members. Using the information you've gathered, create a special church service anniversary memory book. Set aside a special space in the church for a stand for the memory book, where members can look through the book and it will be protected. Also, use the material to create a video to show during a church service anniversary celebration.
Church Family Picnic
Hold a special service at which former pastors and leaders speak. Invite members who have moved away to return for the service. Hold a church picnic on the church grounds after the service. Make it informal, with every family bringing a main dish, side dish or desert. Supply ice cream and drinks. Provide family games and activities with balloons for all the children.
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