How to Plan a Church Anniversary

Couple in congregation with hymnal

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Celebrate the founding of your church with a special event designed to remember and honor the ways God has blessed your congregation. Anniversaries are not only a way to look back at how far you've come, but also a way to look forward to the future. Depending on your denomination and traditions, your church's anniversary celebration may be a series of events spanning several days, one huge party, or a smaller, more intimate gathering.

Create a committee. Try to recruit both new and old members of the congregation to make up this committee. This way, you will reap the benefits of both experience and new ideas. Set up a schedule of meeting times that will work for everyone involved. The committee should ideally meet for the first time as early as two years before the celebration, according to Reformed Worship, a website dedicated to helping churches plan worship strategies. If you are planning an elaborate celebration, consider forming subcommittees. For example, you might want task one subcommittee with the writing of the church's history and another with organizing the food.

Choose your celebration date. Announce the date well in advance in the church newsletter, bulletins, and even in your local newspaper. The latter is recommended if your church has been an integral part of your community for a long time, especially if you are celebrating a milestone anniversary. Continue to advertise every month or so, and then weekly as the date approaches.

Decide on a theme. Your decorations, food, speakers and even music can center around the theme. The theme may tie into the anniversary, such as a Golden 50th, or it may center around a special event or concept worthy of celebration. For example, focus on the concept of thankfulness if your church has been blessed with strong finances during a recession, or if your congregation has experienced exceptional growth since its foundation.

Design and order decorations and commemorative objects. Many churches create banners in honor of an anniversary. You may also choose to order commemorative plates that church members can purchase. Or, ask for donations toward one big object, such as a new outdoor fountain or bench that will commemorate the celebration.

Plan the schedule of events. Most anniversary celebrations include music, worship, guest speakers, a time of sharing or reflections, prayer, and a social gathering with food. Some celebrations also include the taking of communion and water baptisms. Once you have planned the events, contact people who might be willing to contribute to the ceremony. For example, if there are still founding members in your congregation, ask them to share their memories.