For our church’s 150th anniversary, we desired to recognize the Lord’s faithfulness and to celebrate our shared history. Our planning committee began working a year in advance—praying, preparing, and inviting former pastors to participate. For several months during our worship services prior to the celebration, we featured a historical note—a short story or an interesting piece of trivia about our church. A large banner hung outside the church building and anniversary stickers embellished our correspondence. We placed advertisements in the local newspaper and on radio and cable TV stations. God provided the finances through the generosity of our ladies’ group and special church and VBS offerings. To highlight the history of our church, we set up displays in our fellowship center. They included old photos, past church directories, and antique items. For months, people knew that a special event was coming.During the open house, guests took rides in a horse-drawn carriage along the brick roads adjacent to the church. We performed a skit that reflected the church’s founding, including an authentic clergy costume from the 1800s. We distributed booklets that included stories and articles about the history of our church and also distributed old fans—as mementos of days before air-conditioning. The Saturday dinner featured a documentary video that traced the history of our physical church structure, the thirty-eight men who served as pastors, and the godly laypeople of our church. Current members were awarded certificates honoring their number of years of membership. For the weekend celebration, we used virtually every available volunteer from our church. Everyone had ownership of the event, not just the pastor and the planning committee.
To create a lasting remembrance, we gathered for a group photo in front of the church, and each individual took home a keepsake packet. When we look at the bronze anniversary plaque installed near the church’s main entry, we remember God’s faithfulness.
Keith Hunt, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Nebraska City, Nebraska