THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Pastors have a wonderful opportunity to inspire and educate their members and their community with the truths of freedom.
Following are some practical ideas to help in the spreading of the powerful truths of freedom:
There are several men that God has called for "such a time as this" to call America back to God. Consider scheduling one of more of these men to challenge your church and educate your community:
Dr. Chuck Harding (awakeamericaonline.org)
Caleb Garraway (remnantministriesonline.com)
Dr. David Gibbs (christianlaw.org)
David Sommerdorf (sommerdorf.com)
Patriotic Vacation Bible School
One of the best Vacation Bible Schools we ever had was "Who Are Your Heros?" Its easy to decorate with a patriotic theme, and there are plenty of patriotic prizes available from Oriental Trading Co. or other online stores. There are great Bible characters to preach on, emphasizing bravery, faith, humility and other honorable characteristics. You could also teach each night on American patriots or founding fathers, talking about what they did and quoting them regarding faith, the Bible or the Lord Jesus. Many quotes are available in "America's God & Country" which can be found in our Freedom Focus online store.
Its easy to have a skit each night where a panel of judges tries to decide if someone is worthy of being a hero. Bring out a professional ballplayer and ask "Why should you be a hero?" His response might be "Well, I can take this bat and hit this ball." The panel responds with, "That's it?" He says, "Well, the ball is going really fast and I can still hit it." "And..." they respond. "Well, I can hit it really far." They say, "So that's the reason you should be a hero?" Then bring out a highway patrolman in uniform. The panel asks why he should be a hero and he tells them the nature of his job, the discipline and sacrifice required and the people he has helped. Then they select him as the hero with bells, sound effects and exciting music. The next night, have the panel interview a pro wrestler, then a soldier. The next night, a rock star and a pastor. Be creative with characters that the kids would identify with.
On the last night, preach on why Jesus is the greatest hero of all because he gave up everything to rescue us from eternal judgment., displaying bravery, sacrifice, love and humility.
Patriotic Annual Theme
This theme is a great one for decorations! The hallways, classrooms and auditorium can be filled with red, white and blue ribbons, flowers, flags and bunting.
Quotes can be posted in all of your buildings from forefathers and preachers of the past. This can be a very educational theme. There are many worthy quotes that the average person has never heard. The Freedom Focus Online Store has a set of 15 11x17" quote posters from Founding Fathers.
Some ideas for themes are "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All The Land", "America, We Still Believe", "What Made Our Nation Great Will Keep Our Nation Great", "True Freedom Starts In The Heart", "Where The Spirit Of The Lord Is There Is Liberty", "The Truth Shall Make You Free" or "God Bless America Again".
Highlight a "Forefather of the Week". Take 5-10 minutes each week in Sunday School to introduce a patriot or pastor from America's past. Mention when they lived, what they did, and then what they said regarding faith. This can be an amazing education and a lot of fun.
Each week, put a quote in the bulletin or on the bulletin cover.
If you usually have a spring and/or fall campaign, make it patriotic. Prizes can be patriotic books, small flags or yard flags. You might even consider a prize trip to Williamsburg, VA or some similar destination.
This would also be a good year to schedule a church family trip to Washington D.C. There are many museums and historic sights that would inspire your church members. A wonderful opportunity for any church is the CAPITOL CONNECTION event held each year in March. More details regarding this event can be found at awakeamericaonline.org.
Honor Those Who Defend Freedom
Many churches host a "Civil Servants Sunday". This is a great way to honor military personnel and veterans, law enforcement, first responders, and elected officials. It is often difficult to get a good response from this community, but here are a few tips to consider:
1) Try to work through the leader of each division (Police Chief, Sheriff, etc.)
2) Try to get the leader to commit to coming first.
3) Design a sharp poster for the special day that can hang on the employees bulletin board.
4) Design a sharp flyer with all the relevant information to be handed out.
5) Design a plaque, clock, medal, etc. for each civil servant who attends that says "thank you for your service".
6) Possibly have a meal after the service for your attendees.
7) Possibly have a special speaker with a civil servant background, someone who will relate well to this audience.
8) Involve your children in honoring them. Allow children to hand out the awards, sing a song or give them hand-made objects or colorings.
9) Honor a civil servant with a special award for the year. This might be for an outstanding act or a significant sacrifice.
10) Advertise in the local newspaper. Many papers will run this information for free in the "Church News" or "Community Events" section. Submit a picture and a short article explaining the day and who is invited.
Perform a Patriotic Cantata
There are several good cantatas available that have a great emotional appeal, inspire patriotism, and teach wonderful truths about freedom. If your church choir hasn't done one of these for a while, it may be time! This can be a wonderful outreach to the community. Consider performing this on a Friday or Saturday night as well as on Sunday. If you involve children, its sure to help your attendance and its always more powerful and memorable.
If you cannot find a cantata that you like, it is not hard to put together 5 or 6 songs along with some patriotic narration. (Quotes from our founders work really well as narration.) Great songs include "Let Freedom Ring", "God Bless America", "Star-Spangled Banner", "Faith Of Our Fathers", "I Love This Land", "Statue Of Liberty" and "Who Will God To America". To add lots of excitement, have the children's choir sing "This Land Is Your Land", "Fifty-Nifty United States", "You're A Grand Old Flag" or any traditional American tune.
Include a color guard and the "Pledge Of Allegience" and you'll involve the audience.
Also, consider using a trumpet solo, or maybe an instrumental group to add some variety. There may be a community veterans band or local fife and drum group that you could invite as "special guests" as well.