7 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month at Your Church

1. Celebrate the ethnicity of every member of your congregation. Hang flags from all your members’ nations of ancestry in the sanctuary, have a potluck with foods from their ancestral homelands, or have members dress in the attire of their ancestral country.

2. Racial Reconciliation Sunday is the second Sunday in February each year. It’s not talked about much in many of our churches these days, but it is a great time to make an intentional effort to broaden our churches’ reach and understanding. I like the idea of having a pulpit exchange with a preacher and/or choir coming from a church of a different ethnicity than the prominent ethnicity in your church. A number of times I have been the first Black pastor to preach in a pulpit. It is not the end goal, but it is a step in the right direction.

3. Host an open, honest panel discussion on race related issues with interactive questions from the congregation. Hit the tough issues that make people feel uncomfortable. We can never move forward in becoming more like Jesus in this area without this kind of loving but challenging dialogue.

4. Have mixed racial groups watch a modern movie that highlights a portion of Black history and have a discussion afterwards. Here a few to consider: Hidden Figures, Race, 12 Years a Slave, Selma, 42, Just Mercy, Men of Honor, The Help, or Harriet. (Note: Some of these films are gruesome in their depictions and discretion is required.)

5. Lead a Bible study with your racial eyes open and your antenna raised. Consider studying Jesus on race, race and the unhindered gospel in Acts, or the challenges of being Philemon and Onesimus.

6. Invite people to join book clubs that will read and have a four-week discussion around the book Removing the Stain of Racism in the Southern Baptist Convention or some other similar work.

7. Encourage your pastor to preach a sermon series. Here are some ideas:

Rhythm of Life: A series about important issues using popular songs to express the theme of each message. Some titles might be “God Bless the Child,” “Respect,” “We Are Family,” “I Believe I Can Fly,” and “If This Isn’t Love.”

We’ve Come this Far By Faith: A series tying the faith of the Patriarchs to the faith that has sustained our people.

Strength from the Spirituals. Some themes might be “Go Down Moses,” “God Put a Rainbow in the Clouds,” “Steal Away,” “Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray,” and “We Shall Overcome.”

Becoming Brothers: A series from Philemon on how to grow beneficial relationships, bringing out the racial and class overtones in the text.

In celebrating Black History Month in your church you bring us all a little closer to heaven.

First published on LifeWayVoices.com. Used by permission.

Mark A. Croston
Mark A. Croston

Mark A. Croston served as pastor to an urban congregation in Virginia for 26 years. He now serves as national director of Black & Western church partnerships at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also general editor of the YOU Bible Study Curriculum and is the author of Big Results: Sunday School and Black Church Life.