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7 Ways to Honor Black History Month in Next Gen Ministry

Black History Month

Black History Month is here. In our ministries, we have an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people in our country and better understand our history. 

So, what can this look like? What are some practical ways to honor Black History Month in next-gen ministry?

This can look different in every context and community, but here are seven practical ways you can honor Black History Month. 

  1. Incorporate Liturgies and Gospel Music by Black Artists 

There are so many beautiful liturgies, prayers, songs, and poems by Black writers, artists, and musicians that can inspire our faith. Consider the sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, the songs of Thomas A. Dorsey, and the poems of Maya Angelou and Phyllis Wheatley. Incorporating those works into your normal programming is a great way to honor Black History Month while influencing your kids’ and students’ faith. Make sure you give credit to the original creator, and when possible, tell their story to give even more context to the work you are sharing. 

  1. Visit a Museum or History Event in Your Community 

You can do this as a church field trip or just encourage families to go by highlighting the events on social media or during programming. You can even provide parents with cues to help them have better conversations about the experience. This is a great way to expose your kids and students to history, and even have conversations about how our faith informs our response, such as lament for injustice or honoring how God made humans creative and innovative. 

  1. Invite a Guest Speaker to Share About Black History. 

Your ministry should reflect your community, and you have an important role in helping every kid and teenager see themselves represented in the Church. However, you also have an important helping kids and teenagers understand that the Church is big, and full of people from diverse backgrounds. One of the best ways to do this is through elevating a diverse group of communicators and speakers, and if you aren’t already doing that, this month offers a great first step. Black History Month is a great time to invite a guest to speak about Black History Month. Now, who you invite is important because you shouldn’t assume Black leaders want to teach about Black History. Instead, reach out to Black historians or leaders who are already teaching about Black History in your community. 

  1. Highlight Black Leaders in History

You can do this on social media or from the stage, but it is one of the easiest ways to highlight Black History. As you tell stories, you can also share how God worked through these leaders to make a difference or achieve success. Connect the dots so kids and teenagers understand how the stories of people are connected to God’s story in our world. 

  1. Partner with Black-Led Organizations to Serve Predominately Black Communities

As we learn about our history, we often become more aware of the ways that unjust systems have negatively impacted Black people and communities. One of the best ways to honor Black History Month is to make a difference and close some of the gaps created by those policies. You can do this by partnering with a Black-led nonprofit organization to do a food drive, volunteer, raise money, or meet a need they suggest. Just be sure you ask them what is actually helpful to the organization. 

  1. Empower Students to Lead 

If you have a student leadership team, consider empowering them to brainstorm ideas of what it could look like to honor Black History Month. Not only will they learn in the process, but it will also help them develop as leaders. Now, hopefully, this doesn’t have to be said, but don’t single out Black students (or staff or volunteers for that matter) to lead the charge, as that isn’t honoring and can be a negative experience instead. 

  1. Explain Why Celebrating Black History Month Matters 

This last idea is potentially the most important and should happen no matter what other ideas you choose. As you lead activities or highlight leaders, it’s important to explain why celebrating Black History Month matters and connect it to how we live out our faith. Now every community may have a different answer for that, but what is important is connecting the dots in age-appropriate ways kids can understand. 

These are just a few of many ways you can honor Black History Month in your next gen ministry. You can play trivia games, do speech contests, or even ask kids to bring facts each week! No matter how you honor Black History Month, just remember that honoring the creativity and achievements of humans is one way to honor the image of God in them. 

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