While it is no easy task to put together a church anniversary program, it can still be an enriching process. Enlist the help of church members and staff as you prepare a time of fun, reminiscing and fellowship for your congregation and community.
Send notices to the church members and even the larger community as early as nine months prior to the event. This allows people to clear their calendars well in advance of the event. It is also a tool to build excitement for the celebration. You don't necessarily have to have all of the details listed at this point, but it is a good time to spread the word.
Involve the church founders, if they are still alive. Contact them so they can prepare to give insight into the early days of the church. Tri Lakes Community Church, located in Bristol, Indiana, honored its founders even though the church had long since broken away from the original denomination prior to the event. Young and old alike enjoyed hearing the story of a bus driver who thought the unruly children in the community needed a church influence, establishing the congregation just a year later. Allow former and longtime members to share similar stories, giving younger generations a deeper sense of their roots.
Schedule a couple of special music pieces by the worship team, instrumentalists and children after the founders have shared. Music leaders and children's church teachers should collaborate so that music ties together seamlessly. Another way to celebrate the church community is to recognize the entire body as it relates to the gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8. Honor those who encourage others, serve behind the scenes and in other ways contribute to church life.
Make room in the program for people to share their testimonies. Many will have stories of how the church helped them through a time of crisis. Others may want to speak of how they have grown under the leadership of the church throughout the years. There may be nonmembers who would appreciate the opportunity to thank the church for its positive influence in their lives.
Incorporate humor into the event. Pull those funny slides, videos and bloopers from the archives to play for about 15 minutes. Afterward, the pastor can share closing thoughts and a prayer before releasing people to fellowship over a meal that can be catered or brought in potluck style.