The 4th of July is a huge day for many reasons. Not only is it the birthday of the United States, but it also marks the center of the summer season for many. This is the perfect time for your church to show its red, white, and blue by hopping on board and planning some 4th of July activities designed to build community and grow your church.

In my experience, many pastors fall in one of two camps when it comes to the 4th of July. The first camp believes that their church should be completely hands off when it comes to the 4th of July;  in other words, they don’t plan anything because they feel like there’s just no way they can possibly compete with 4th of July fireworks and barbecues. The second camp believes in throwing their own big birthday party for Uncle Sam designed to compete with one of the worst times to have a church event in the entire year.

When it comes to strategy, balance isn’t always the right answer, but in terms of the 4th of July it certainly helps. It would be absolutely silly to let the 4th of July pass by unnoticed and unrecognized by your church. There are a ton of creative possibilities that allow you to leverage this celebration for church growth. On the other hand, it would be very unwise to plan a church event that goes up against fireworks at 9 PM; fireworks are hard to beat unless you have your own.

So we’ve put together six rapid-fire ways that your church can celebrate the 4th of July with church growth in mind

#1 make awesome 4th of July shirts that have your church URL tastefully printed on the waistline, with a giant non-church-promoting 4th of July celebration graphic on the back

Give them to your church to wear while they’re celebrating on the 4th, and especially while they’re watching their favorite fireworks show. As a bonus, give each person an extra shirt to hand out as a gift to someone they don’t know on the 4th. The whole concept here is that a minimally branded shirt would make someone else happy to wear it for a fun purpose like the 4th of July, but also lead them to check out what your church is up to. Sure, shirts may sound expensive, but they’re the kind of gift that keeps on giving; people may not wear them out to dinner the following week, but they’ll wear them again the next time work needs to be done in their front yard.

#2 plan to hit the fireworks as a church

Consider telling your whole congregation that you’re going to be meeting at your town’s biggest fireworks show. There is a lot of power in gathering God’s people together in any place, at any time. We’ve seen this happen, and the result is lots of conversations with unchurched families and friends that lead to invitations to God’s house.

#3 forget planing anything during the fireworks, but plan an all day “Grill Fest” as a pre-show BBQ

Tell your church to invite their friends and families to a festival style event with stuff for kids and teenagers to do, music, and quite a bit of grilled meat. Then around 7 PM, wrap up, and send everyone off on their merry way to catch the show.

#4 plan your own fireworks show

This sounds crazy, but if you do a little research you will see that private shows start around $3,000. If you plan this on the 3rd, instead of the 4th, you can create a family friendly event designed to beat the 4th of July rush. Tie this in with the last idea for an incredible impact, and massive 4th of July extravaganza.

#5 find your town’s biggest 4th of July event, and give out branded bottles of water with your church name and service times on the label

It’s not just about the free water and the info on the bottle, though, it’s a great conversation starter that will leave people thankful for the water and curious about what makes people like you so awesome.

#6 offer up your extremely great worship team to put on a show before the fireworks

Your worship team has a ton of talent, and they’ve been secretly wanting to breakout into other genres on occasion anyway. So put together a list of ten family friendly songs, and contact your city offering to perform for the city on the 4th. Then tell your worship team to be ready to introduce themselves when they get bombarded with thank yous and high fives. Music is a powerful thing, and people love to check out a church when they know that the music is phenomenal. Plus, you could set your church up with shirts for the event that the band also wears, so everyone knows who is connected with the folks rocking out on stage.

So rather than write the 4th of July off as a completely lost cause this year, consider getting creative and being involved in a different way. There are thousands of possibilities, but it all comes down to one thing; borrowing the momentum from something that’s already huge and creating opportunities for people to experience Jesus. This day, more than most others, represents an incredible opportunity for community in your church and your local area. So take advantage of it, and do something different this 4th of July.

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TK Dennis

TK Dennis

Chief Executive Officer

TK has worked in the church for over a decade and brings years of executive leadership experience along with years of experience in media and technology. TK has a Masters in Public Administration and is an expert of navigating the minefield of procedural issues churches experience. He’s not quite so stuffy though; he is vibrantly creative and understands what it takes to create and plan a weekend from start to finish including video, music, and production.