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This past weekend, our church celebrated 99 of ministry in our community with our annual homecoming service. (For those that do not live in the south and have no idea what a homecoming service is – it is a time for former members of the church who grew up in the church, but have moved away or for former pastors to come back and to have a big celebration complete with the obligatory covered dish luncheon afterward.)

In the past, someone would always write a history for the year and we would end up taking about 10 minutes of our worship service just to read it to the congregation.  For the past couple of years, however, we have tried to make it less of a spectator event and more of a congregational time of thanksgiving.  We group all of the years’ activities together by type (children’s ministry, youth ministry, mission projects, music celebrations and special guests, significant services/sermon series, etc.), then organize those into a special prayer of thanksgiving for the entire congregation.
It might go something like this (with the pastor/ministry leader for each area reading the regular print of the actual events while the congregation responds in the bold):

Lord, in this past year of ministry, we give You thanks for Your faithfulness.

For…(significant events for the whole congregation)

Lord, we thank You for Your faithfulness.

For… (significant events in the youth and children’s ministry)

Lord, we thank You for the blessing of our children.

For…(significant times of worship)

Lord, we are grateful for Your many gifts.

For…(significant times of fellowship and community)

Lord, we honor You for the gift of friends and family.

For…(significant mission projects or trips)

Lord, we thank You for choosing us be on mission with You.  And we thank You in the name of Jesus, our Savior.  Amen.

I don’t know, you would have to find what would work best for you, but it is a powerful thing when the church gathers to not only remember and retell the story of Scripture and of Jesus, but also to retell the story of your local congregation and to celebrate God’s faithfulness to that specific people.  In doing so, praise becomes much more personal between your specific congregation and the God who has sustained you in ministry.  Generally speaking, the Church, as a whole, needs to become better storytellers of God’s work, not only in the distant past (Bible) but in the world of today as well.