Posted on : Thursday July 5, 2018

Smalltown Fourth of July celebrations—how wonderful! We think of parades with bands, firetrucks, floats! Many of our churches use these opportunities to engage their communities, getting to know their neighbors while enjoying the fellowship of working together building floats or handing out cold drinks.

Of course, as we celebrate our country’s birthday, we always reflect on God’s goodness, and even in the midst of strife, his peace, and love.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Seaside Church, Lewes, Del., served free french fries at a “Children’s Day” celebration as part of the town’s Independence Day festivities.

Seaside Church gave away free french fries, water, and lemonade at the Lewes’ annual “Children’s Day,” held each year in conjunction with the town’s Fourth of July celebration. There were games for children, a parade, and fireworks.

The church has been participating for two decades, at first just giving away cold water. Erika Arnold, the wife of Seaside Pastor Charlie Arnold, said the event is a fabulous opportunity to meet the community.

“People try to give us donations, but we don’t accept them. We tell them we don’t want to take from the community, we want to give back. It’s very well received. So many people are grateful,” Erika said, adding the church’s generosity has opened doors to meet and talk with people and to share about Jesus.

Erika said event planners continue inviting the church to be involved mostly because of the long relationships they have had with her husband over the years. Besides being the chaplain of the local fire department, he has been involved with scouting, little leagues, and other local organizations. Many people in the city and county turn to him to officiate at their weddings and funerals, expanding Seaside’s ministry.

In addition to sharing the free food and drinks, Charlie opened the event in prayer,  giving thanks to God, and praying for the town, the state, and the country.

Christian Liberty Church, Baltimore, recently had a baptismal service, baptizing four believers. “We had a glorious day! One person came to Christ, four people were baptized, and we have seven people in our new members class,” said Pastor Wayne Lee.

Christian Liberty Church recently had a “glorious” day with seven people making confessions of faith and four being baptized.

Ogletown Baptist Church has “Kickball in the Park” on Tuesdays through August 21. It’s a  low-key family fun outreach. Events are hosted weekly at two locations (Glasgow and Paper Mill Parks).

Oak Grove Baptist Church, Bel Air, regularly participates in the annual Bel Air Independence Day parade. Members enjoy building a float and marching, giving them an opportunity to meet the community and let folks know about the church.

Oak Grove Baptist Church built a float and marched in the annual Independence Day celebration in Bel Air.

College Parkway Baptist Church (CPBC) is celebrating #summerpsalms. Summer is busy at the church with the excitement of adult and youth mission trips, Vacation Bible School, and other outreaches. Many share about those ministry experiences during Sunday worship time. Pastor Patrick DeVane said it’s difficult to begin a new sermon series in the midst of all the wonderful activity, so they’re focusing on the Psalms.

In addition to his sermons, DeVane posts a schedule of readings in the Psalms on the church website and members are encouraged to follow along, read, pray and perhaps consult commentaries and then to share on social media how God is speaking to them using the hashtag #summerpsalms.

“It’s a great opportunity to read together as a church,” DeVane said. “What has been exciting is how many people from different age groups resonated with it.”

College Parkway Baptist Church members are reading through Psalms and posting their comments using the hashtag #summerpsalms.

Members who have retired and have moved away still participate.

They post on Facebook and Instagram.

God is using the emphasis. People who aren’t usually engaged in a devotional time are now reading, and it gives others a fresh way to approach their daily practice.

For some, he said, posting on social media and using hashtags is a bit of a learning curve. But he is teaching them along the way, and they’re enjoying the process.

DeVane posts each day as an encouragement to members. All are welcome to participate.