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Ideas that Work

HONORING VETERANS

Early in a new pastorate I met two Army veterans in their early 70's attending our church. They understated their war experience, as did their wives, who endured the war working and waiting at home. But I felt an urgency to honor them and other veterans in the church. Veterans Day was coming up, a natural time to show appreciation.

Six weeks before the holiday, I asked each veteran in the congregation to submit a brief history of his or her military service in preparation for a special service on Veterans Day Sunday. The information dribbled in, turning up 13 veterans in a congregation of 130.

On Veterans Day, we sang patriotic hymns and then at sermon time, I read from Romans 13:7, emphasizing the phrase, "Give everyone what you owe him … if honor, then honor." Then I said, "Today we will not merely consider God's Word, we will do it." I called on each veteran to stand while I read his brief history. Then I repeated his name and said, "We honor you today."

The congregation ...

July/August
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