The world has come a long way since November 11, 1919. That day marked the first anniversary celebration of “Armistice Day,” an agreement that was signed between the Allies and Germany, which effectively ended World War 1. As the years passed, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution and eventually in 1938 declared November 11, “Veterans Day,” a national holiday.
It is important that every American, regardless of their ideological differences, express genuine appreciation to and gratitude for those who have served our nation honorably in the armed forces. Specifically, believers should set this example, recognizing God’s “Divine Providence” in the “affairs of men” and the commitment our veterans have made to “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
So how can we as a church family, with appropriate balance in our church services, honor those who have sacrificed to serve our country? Allow me to suggest 7 meaningful ways in which we can publicly display gratitude to our veterans:
- Have veterans submit photos to the church office and then display them in your Veterans Day service (either posted on a board or wall or digitally presented).
- Recognize every veteran in attendance according to the branch in which they served.
- Send out a message to your church family prior to the Veterans Day recognition, asking them to bring a “Thank You for Your Service” card to church with them that Sunday, and then give those cards to every veteran in attendance.
- After the Veterans Day service, host a special lunch and/or after church fellowship, inviting all veterans to attend, making sure to clearly delineate the veterans seating. Encourage your church members to take the opportunity to personally express their gratitude to those who have served.
- During the Veterans Day service, interview a veteran or show a pre-recorded video about how their faith strengthened and sustained them during their military career.
- Invest in a meaningful and appropriate token of appreciation to give to every veteran in attendance.
- At the close of the Veterans Day service, ask every veteran and their family to come to the front and have a special time of prayer.
These are just a few suggestions of the many ways in which to honor veterans in your church service. A focused and purposeful attention to this segment of our society will not only encourage those who’ve served but could provide your entire church family with countless evangelistic and ministry opportunities that will yield eternal benefits.