Summer days are heating up with 4th of July celebrations just days away. Churches often host special programs for Independence Day, and music is always a key element in most special events.
There are numerous ways churches can engage their community in July 4th activities. Here are just a few:
- Patriotic concerts on your campus. Work with your musicians, singers and worship team to feature special patriotic tunes in an outdoor venue.
- Host a free movie night with popcorn and refreshments featuring a film like “Independence Day,” “Air Force One,” or “Iron Man.”
- Celebrate the diversity of our nation by featuring songs sung in different languages, and focusing on various cultural groups and how they enrich our country.
- If your church is in a metropolitan area that is home to a MLB baseball team, organize an outing to a home game.
Here are some great ideas from Diana Davis at Pastors.com on how to reach out to your community on this patriotic holiday.
It’s not just about celebrating our country. July 4th can focus your church’s attention on praying for our country. Looking for fresh ideas for your church to celebrate July 4th this year?
Fireworks viewing — Does your church site offer a great view of local fireworks? Post an outdoor sign inviting neighbors to bring lawn chairs and enjoy the fireworks there. As church members serve watermelon and sodas, they visit with guests and invite them for worship on Sunday.
Children’s 4th of July Parade — Plan a fun, small-townish kids’ parade for your community. Get permission to block the street in front of the church, or stage the parade route in the parking lot. Advertise it everywhere, and be sure to create a Facebook event so members can invite friends. All kids in town can participate, dressing in red, white and blue to walk or ride decorated bikes. Kids meet at a staging area for sendoff, and parents line the parade route. A big “God Bless America” banner and flags lead the parade, and children’s Sunday School teachers distribute printed church invitations to viewers. Hokey? Oh, yes, but great family fun.
Community leaders – Invite community leaders or military servicemen to lead the prayer, pledge, or read Scripture during worship on the Sunday nearest July 4th.
It’s hard to imagine colorful summertime programs without music, but it’s important to make sure you’re covered with the right copyright licenses, to avoid the risk of copyright infringement or any “unwanted” fireworks.
July 4th events often slide under the radar when it comes to licensing for music: Patriotic celebrations. Here are four important facts to consider:
1) Special holiday events, like your July 4th events, are not considered a religious service and therefore do not qualify under the U.S. Copyright Law Religious Service Exemption.
2) Music for Patriotic or July 4th celebrations often includes secular, or non-Christian songs that are not covered by some blanket licenses, such as CCLI.
3) It’s really quick, easy and inexpensive to get immediate performance license coverage in place to make sure you can legally play and perform songs like “Born in the USA,” “Only in America,” “Some Gave All,” “Only in America,” and “God Bless the USA.” CCS’s PERFORMmusic License offers the ONLY one-stop solution for legal performance and playing of more than 20 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, including holiday and secular songs, for one low annual fee with NO reporting required.
4) Your church can have an even greater impact when you share your holiday programs with the world via the Internet. However, it’s important to keep in mind that licensing is required to legally stream Internet song performances of copyrighted music. CCS’s WORSHIPcast License is a blanket license that gives you a simple way to have music licensing coverage for more than 20 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC catalogs.
No matter how you and your church family celebrate the Fourth, be sure to enjoy all the music you want and have confidence that your copyright coverage is in place. We hope you will celebrate a happy and safe Fourth of July! If you need any assistance with performance licenses, just call one of our CCS reps at 1-855-876-5837.
CCS’s Founder and CVO, Susan Fontaine Godwin is an educator and long-time member of the Christian arts community with 30 years of experience in the Christian media industry, church copyright administration and copyright management. Susan is an author and speaker and frequently writes for several Christian magazines and online publications. She serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Mobile.
About Christian Copyright Solutions: CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration and advocacy for copyright owners. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.