Starting a ministry to the U.S. Military
No American town or city has been untouched by the recent military campaigns in Iraq and other parts of the world. Christians have traditionally been at the forefront of supporting our troops. There are several things you as an individual, a ministry group or a church can do to encourage members of the military and their families.
1. Find out about the military families in your town or area
Create a special bulletin board and list their names so members of your church can pray for them on a regular basis. This information can be discovered through a military chaplain and from your own membership (neighbors, acquaintances, etc.)
2. Intentionally celebrate the military
Memorial Day, 4th of July and God & Country Sunday are natural times to present patriotic music/concerts in worship services. Using a Color Guard and a flag ceremony will highlight the importance of the military in upholding our freedoms.
3. Involve military church members in your church’s ministries
Transfers come frequently, so utilize the abilities of military men and women while you have them!
4. Connect with military chaplains
Chaplains can inform your church about special needs, deployments, and how best to support the families left behind.
Military families face many challenges during deployment times. Have orientations to make your members aware of these issues. Invite military spouses and chaplains to share information.
6. Create a support network
Some churches have a support group for military wives that meet regularly to address issues and provide support. Consider staring such a group and adopt military personnel and their families.
7. Provide practical help
Car maintenance, home repairs, and yard work issues create frustration for military wives. Be a resource for assistance when these needs arise – hopefully from within your church.
8. Give spiritual support
Just knowing that others are praying for them and care about their spiritual growth can make all the difference to military families.
9. Pay attention to military during holiday seasons
Holidays are difficult times when members of the family are missing. Provide gifts, invitations to holiday meals and church activities. A pre-paid telephone call would be wonderful!