- November 8, 2019
- Christian Living
As we come upon another Veterans Day, the question of what the Christian community can do to care for veterans during the other 364 days of the year is a good one to ask. Our military service members and their families do more for our country than we could ever comprehend. We thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice each May with Memorial Day. There are also a few smaller holidays throughout the year to celebrate members of the military, but Veterans Day holds a special place in our hearts. This is because we honor the veterans who are still with us well beyond their years of service. So how can we truly care for and appreciate these heroes as a Christian community beyond this annual holiday? We’ve got a few ideas.
Pray for Veterans Beyond Veterans Day
One of the greatest tools at our disposal as Christians is prayer. We may be thoughtful enough to pray for our veterans and active duty military members on July 4th, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, but what about the rest of the year? Are we committed to praying for their safety and mental health on a routine basis? If you don’t know where to start praying for our veterans, start with the people you know. Whether they served decades ago in a war like Vietnam or are currently in the military, pray for the family members, neighbors, fellow church members, and friends whom you know. We may never fully comprehend their struggles, but we can surely pray to the One who does on their behalf.
Give Them Opportunities to Prove Themselves
When men and women return home from serving in the military, they may receive plenty of remarks thanking them for their service. What actions are we putting behind our words? Are Christian business owners and church leaders giving veterans the chance to prove themselves in civilian life? Disabled veterans still need a way to provide for their families. Christians who have the ability to provide work or service opportunities for veterans should seek out these capable individuals and help them adapt to life back home by letting them prove themselves. Far from charity, this is simply about rewarding hard working individuals who know how to get the job done.
Incorporate Their Needs and Abilities in Your Community
Veterans have unique perspectives on what it means to be a Christian. Discipleship and community are important to those of us whom have never served. It takes on a whole new level of understanding for the men and women of the military. Consider ways in which your church can meet the needs of veterans, either through small groups or community outreach. Keep in mind that not every veteran is the same. Some may have a strong desire for ministry opportunities aimed at veterans while others just want to be treated like everyone else.
Remember Families, Not Just Soldiers
When we think of honoring veterans, we can’t limit our scope to those who wear the uniform. Behind every service member is a family. If we’re going to care for veterans, we need to also care for their families. That means spouses, kids, and parents, among others. At the very least, these people should be included in your prayers. You can also make meals for these families and invite them to events. A tour overseas is hard on every member of the family. Even moving between different bases within the U.S. can be a difficult experience. Offer to help a military family move into its new home. When we’re reaching out to and caring for veterans, we must remember the family standing beside them.
Share the Gospel with and Disciple Veterans
Caring for veterans beyond Veterans Day can be taken on in a few different ways. Many of these involve physical needs and goods. There’s one area, though, we cannot overlook: the soul. As Christians we are called to go beyond meeting needs and doing good works. We must share the gospel with whomever we can. Veterans need Jesus just like everyone else and we can’t afford to forget this component of care. Many active duty soldiers and veterans have thankfully already given their lives to Christ. We all know the development of a Christian does not end there, though. Churches should make discipleship a priority for veterans and non-veterans alike. This is an important way for us to mature and grow together in faithfulness and fellowship.
Respect the Sacrifice
The most basic thing we can do for veterans is respect what they have given up in the name of serving their country. Often during the most formative years of a young person’s life, these veterans were picking up rifles, jumping out of airplanes, and doing a hundred other tasks we know little-to-nothing about as civilians. Not everyone’s time in the military is the same, but the years served have an affect on young people as they transition into a post-military life. Respect the sacrifices made by these individuals each and every day. Thank God there was someone willing to protect your freedoms while you were taking full advantage of that fact.
Volunteer and Raise Funds for Veteran Causes
Between mental health issues, disabilities, and other needs, veterans have a variety of concerns when they transition from active service. These problems can last decades. They go well beyond the years in which one may have served. For this reason there are dozens of great organizations and hundreds of churches looking to meet the needs of veterans by providing money, treatment, and housing. There are so many ways to help veterans through giving to causes and volunteering for special events. At the K-LOVE Fan Awards, we were blessed to be part of one special fundraiser at our 2017 show. We partnered with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to provide free homes for two military families. You can find all kinds of ways to help through the USO, Give an Hour, National Veterans Foundation, and many other important groups. Whether it’s time or money, you can make an impact on the lives of veterans through these opportunities.
Christians have the chance to minister to veterans well beyond Veterans Day through prayer, church ministries, personal connections, and fighting for their causes. As a society, it’s important for us to thank those who make sacrifices for us, especially if it’s by serving in the military. Find out if there’s an easy way to get involved in your area today. You won't regret it.
The K-LOVE Fan Awards is all about celebrating those who make a difference in the Christian community through music, film, sports, and books. Each year we are able to throw the year’s hottest event by bringing together the biggest names in Christian media and the fans who are impacted by their work. Find out how you can take part in the ultimate fan experience by clicking on the link below.