OUT OF THE BOX Christmas Ideas (Ideas to help churches reach people for Jesus)
- Stuffed stockings -Take a cue from Open Air Ministries Philadelphia and partner with other local churches to distribute overflowing stockings to low-income families in your area. Each year, Open Air invites elementary students the church normally reaches—as well as other families in nearby low-income neighborhoods—to attend Christmas stocking outreach.
- Christmas Tree Giveaways –A few days before Christmas, lot owners are willing to give the trees away. With pickup trucks, deliver them to financially stretched single-parent families.
- Christmas Tree Collection –Everyone needs to get rid of his or her tree. A few days after Christmas, offer to haul the trees away for the neighborhood.
- Christmas tree giveaways. Work with a local Christmas tree lot and school to buy and deliver free Christmas trees. Ask the school and your church to recommend families to receive the trees and a decoration box, including lights, ornaments, and a tree topper.
- Christmas Tea -An outreach event an individual might use is a Christmas Tea given for women and girls. This can be done more simply than you might imagine, and because so many people are open to friendship and sharing the faith at this time of year, it is even possible to present a non-churchy Gospel presentation in FIVE minutes if your invitation states that someone may be sharing a few inspiring thoughts about the season. Guests come prepared to share a favorite Christmas memory. Ask a few neighbors to help you and then follow up with an invite to your church’s Christmas Eve service. For neighbors who miss the tea, take a little plate of goodies with your name and phone number and look for future opportunities to impact them. It is so fun to see God work a miracle in a neighborhood. All he needs is one person who will seek His strategy and do His bidding, whatever simple thing it is. He will cover any mistakes and pour out unspeakable joy, so make this Christmas count. It is a strategic one!
- Global Christmas. Defeat the Christmas spirit of consumerism and host a gift fair featuring presents you can give to various families and communities in need—locally and abroad. Every Christmas, The Shoreline Church of San Clemente, Calif., hosts “Shops at the Shoreline,” featuring a shopping catalog and booths from ministries around the world. The church coordinates efforts with global ministries to prepare the catalog, asking how they can partner with them for the holiday season. More than 20 ministries were represented in 2008. Shoppers can purchase everything from a cow for a family in a Third World country to gifts for local Birth Choice centers. Each year, The Shoreline raises several thousand dollars to support global ministries.
- Christmas camp. Offer free childcare to your community on Friday and Saturday nights—prime times for company Christmas parties and holiday shopping. Organize a crafts station where children can create homemade gifts for their families and friends.
- The Joy of Christmas. Help families stretch their holiday dollars by providing food baskets and children’s gifts. For 14 years, St. John’s Episcopal of Wake Forest, N.C., has served families in need with its Joy of Christmas packages. In September, the church provides school guidance counselors registration forms to distribute to families perceived to be in need. The families are encouraged to complete the forms and return them to the church. St. John’s members and guests then coordinate to provide and deliver Christmas gifts for each child in the family, a holiday meal, grocery store gift cards, and pantry items. “Some of these families have a tough time making ends meet or are unable to purchase gifts for all their children,” says coordinator Carolyn Stoklas. “Through this ministry, families who would otherwise be stretched with hardships during Christmas find blessings instead.”
- Fido-sitting. Encourage people in your church to offer free pet- and house-sitting services to their traveling neighbors.
- Free firewood. Help cut utility costs and secure permission to give away cords of firewood outside local grocery and home stores, as well as Christmas tree lots.
- Packages for the troops. Contact the United Service Organizations to send packages to troops serving overseas. Fill each package with necessities and comforts from home: cards and letters of thanks, phone cards, and a Bible.
Source of the above: Outreach Magazine. Nov. 22, 2015
- Invite your community to an evening of Christmas movies for the family on a big screen, complete with homemade Christmas snacks.
- Provide childcare at the church (free of charge) so parents can go Christmas shopping. Be sure to invite the community.
- Send carolers into the community and be sure to hand out information about your church’s Christmas events.
- Challenge members to make a dozen homemade cookies at the beginning of December to hand out to neighbors and area businesses with invitations to church.
- Offer to wrap Christmas gifts (free of charge) at one of the local business. Be sure to have a sign with your church name listed as well as information about your church available.
- Have your instrumentalists play Christmas carols at the entrance to one of the local businesses. Make sure they have prepared adequately and remember to ask permission of the manager ahead of time.
- Have a team of rakers rake leaves in a local neighborhood. Be sure you tell the homeowner this was done because you love Jesus and Jesus loves them.
- Pass out free bags of popcorn to customers leaving a local video rental store. Customize bags with the church’s logo, address, and service times.
- Give away rolls of tape for gift wrapping outside the post office or a local business. (Get permission first!)
OUT OF THE BOX Easter Ideas
- Free Photos. Enlist a photographer to take free family photos as people arrive at your community’s Easter egg hunt, and send the pictures and information about your church to families via email.
Who are mission-minded people? How do they see the world? While they could be found in your church, place of work, or coaching Little League, what do mission-minded people do differently?
International Mission Board missionaries from around the world helped compile a list of 13 things that make up a mission-minded person:
- They want to meet someone who does not follow Jesus Christ. Mission-minded people follow Jesus’ plan in Luke 10 to go work “His harvest.” They actively seek out non-believers for conversations and friendship.
- They continually look for creative ways to share the Gospel. Mission-minded people find intentional ways to share so that people understand. It is not a “canned presentation” but relative to that person/group. They do the abnormal, irrational, counter-intuitive, and take risks all in an effort to share Christ.
- They have a different worldview. They think more about the world, culture, and languages than they do about the tiny place where they live. They understand that the Gospel is not just for them but for all people. They are committed to getting it to the rest of the world.
- They hear the voice of God and are obedient. Mission-minded people hear the voice of God and obey when He tells them to go across the street, to another town, state or country to share about His redeeming love.
- They pray a lot! Praying is a direct link to God. They believe that God will do greater things than we can ever imagine, and they pray for it to happen.
- They make disciples. They constantly ask themselves if what they are doing will result in disciples. If the strategy is only for people to hear, then the Gospel will not spread. Mission-minded people know the importance of discipleship.
- They meet human needs while sharing the Gospel. Mission-minded people believe it doesn’t matter how many wells a person digs or how many orphans they feed if they are not following Christ’s mandate to take the Gospel to those who have not heard. They contend that if a person is not sharing Jesus, they are wasting time and money.
- They believe that being mission-minded is not a “task.” It’s a lifestyle. They live out missions in their everyday life. From the moment they wake up until they go to bed, they impact the world around them.
- They are relational. They are willing to leave their own “bubble” to make relationships with those considered the “least of these.” They have an awareness of the people around them and look for ways to build a relationship that will lead to sharing Christ and discipleship.
- They go! It doesn’t matter where God tells them to go — Timbuktu or Kalamazoo — they grow where God plants them. And, they are willing to move on when He says, “Go!”
- They see people with a future. When they look at an unreached people group, they see potential “brothers and sisters” in Christ. They see that eternity and joy are available for everyone and are excited to share it.
- They send! They know that we are responsible for ALL people groups hearing the Gospel. They follow the example from the book of Acts to “send” out other mission-minded people. They support them in any way possible.
- They understand that “the task” is not done. Mission-minded people know that once they have reached their family and friends with Christ, they are not done. There are still billions in the world that have not proclaimed Jesus’ name.
Susie Rain is a missionary writer for the IMB. She lives in Southeast Asia and works with an unreached people group and we appreciate the above article she has shared. Follow Susie Rain on Facebook or Twitter.
Outreach in the Workplace
Many times it’s difficult to find practical ways to be a blessing in your workplace. Recently, Josh Reeves posted some very practical ideas for blessing others in the workplace:
1. Instead of eating lunch alone, intentionally eat with other co-workers and learn their story.
2. Get to work early so you can spend some time praying for your co-workers and the day ahead.
3. Make it a daily priority to speak or write encouragement when someone does good work.
4. Bring extra snacks when you make your lunch to give away to others.
5. Bring breakfast (donuts, burritos, cereal, etc.) once a month for everyone in your department.
6. Organize a running/walking group before or after work.
7. Have your missional community/small group (Sunday School Class) bring lunch to your workplace once a month.
8. Make a list of your co-worker’s birthdays and find a way to bless everyone on their birthday.
9. Make every effort to avoid gossip in the office. Be a voice of thanksgiving not complaining.
10. Offer to throw a shower for a co-worker who is having a baby.
11. Start a regular lunch out with co-workers (don’t be selective on the invites).
12. Organize a weekly/monthly potluck to make lunch a bit more exciting.
13. Ask someone who others typically ignore if you can grab them a soda/coffee while you’re out.
14. Be the first person to greet and welcome new people.
15. Make every effort to know the names of co-workers and clients along with their families.
16. Visit coworkers when they are in the hospital.
17. Bring sodas or work-appropriate drinks to keep in your break room for coworkers to enjoy. Know what your co-workers like.
18. Go out of your way to talk to your janitors and cleaning people who most people overlook.
19. Find out your co-worker’s favorite music and make a playlist that includes as much as you can (if suitable for work).
20. Invite your co-workers to the service projects you are already involved in.
21. Start/join a city league team with your co-workers.
22. Organize a weekly co-working group for local entrepreneurs at a local coffee shop.
23. Start a small business that will bless your community and create space for mission work.
24. Work hard to reconcile co-workers who are fighting with one another.
25. Keep small candy, gum, or little snacks around to offer to others during a long day.
26. Lead the charge in organizing others to help co-workers in need.
Finding & Keeping the NEXT GENERATION (Ideas to help us reach the younger generation for Jesus)
In this ministry of First Baptist Church, Gray, Georgia, students are separated by age to better facilitate their needs. Each day includes homework time, a snack, and outdoor and indoor play. Occasionally the group takes field trips, and organizers include a Bible study every week. This ministry serves church members but also reaches into the community to families who need help. “There are several families who are just desperate for after-school care for their kids because of financial hardship and jobs,” says After-School Ministry Director Shirley Billue. “They are really so thankful for this program.
Host an Axe/Hatchet Throwing Tournament
Set up targets onto plywood sheets and host a tournament where you invite folks outside of your church to participate.
1. Get supplies (plywood, targets, scorecards, axes, and/or hatchets)
2. Make sure to set a “safety zone” keeping participants and bystanders safe
3. DON’T CHARGE!!! This is not to be a fundraiser (for any purpose). It is a fun activity to draw the yet-to-be-reached for Christ.
4. Purchase inexpensive prizes like coffee mugs with your church name and logo
5. Present the Gospel and give folks the opportunity to respond
6. Invite everyone to come back on Sunday for service.
OPERATION LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jim Burnett, (Pastor Willow Pointe Church of Hattiesburg, Mississippi) tells the story of how their church purchased over 400 mini spiral 60-watt light bulbs and one by one placed them in plastic bags with the church’s logo on the outside and an informational sheet on the inside. Attached to the bulb was a card that said the following:
Jesus is the Light of the World. Just as this bulb will illuminate the dark areas of your home, Jesus brings light and understanding to life. John 8:12-When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
On the back it said:
Jesus Saves. This bulb has the potential to save you $46 a year in energy costs. Jesus promises to save you from your sin and God’s judgment. Romans 6:23 (written out)
Jesus Offers Eternal Life. This bulb has a life expectancy of nine years or 10,000 hours. Jesus desires to give you eternal life, which never ends. 1 John 5:13 (written out)
As these were distributed in pairs of two a two-question survey was conducted.
- Are you currently involved in a local church?
- Do you have any specific needs in your life for which we can pray with you?
The results were exciting, with 23 prospective families located who are now being prayed for and contacted.
I encourage you to give this creative and practical outreach effort a try.
Finding & Keeping the NEXT GENERATION (Ideas to help us reach the younger generation for Jesus)
Ideas Targeted to Sports Teams (adapted from Athletes in Action)
High School Sports Party -Decorate one of your large church rooms with a sports theme and invite high school students in for a party after home games. Offer them free food (pizza and snacks), music (a Contemporary Christian Band), and games (Pinball, Ping Pong, Foosball, and video games).
Steaks and Salmon for Firefighters
Since 9/11, the general public has been aware of the tremendous job that they do for us day in and day out. Show them a little kindness by providing some steaks or salmon to grill. Let them know in advance that you are coming so they can have the grill fired up. Invite them to church and offer to supply them with Bibles.
Hand Out Coffee Packets for Time Change Weekend or Anytime!
Wake Up and Smell the Pura Vida Coffee! A church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, had a great idea-give out pre-packaged coffee grounds to help people get through the time change weekend. They contacted Pura Vida Coffee for individual coffee packets that any church can order for give-away in your community.
- Pura Vida Coffee 2 oz. coffee packet giveaways The bags come in quantities of 21 per box. If you want to add your own custom labels, Avery Diskette Labels are 2 3/4 square and should work well (Avery Product #08196). For coffee pricing and blend availability, contact Paul at email@example.com, or visit the website at www.puravidacoffee.com.
- Free Bird Feeders and Refills to Convalescent Home Residents Most outreaches to those in convalescent homes will touch their extended family as well. Provide an acrylic bird feeder – the kind with suction cups that stick right to the window. Return occasionally to refill the bird feeder and check in on your adopted elderly friend.
- Bait at Local Fishing Spots
This brings new meaning to the verse from Psalm 51, “I am a worm and not a man.” Those who fish with live bait need worms, grubs, goldfish, minnows, or whatever. Purchase these critters in large quantities from a bait shop, go to the lakes, and give them away.
OUT OF THE BOX (Ideas to help churches reach people for Jesus)
- Encourage Sunday School Classes or small groups to meet at locations in the community away from the church, like McDonald’s or other restaurants. Ask permission to post signs about the gatherings and ask folks near your table to join you. If your church uses an open enrollment philosophy regarding Sunday School/Bible Study (and I hope it does), ask those attending if you could enroll them in Sunday School/Bible Study.
- Introduce visitors to your staff and ministries in a relaxed setting by providing a free casual lunch, dinner, or fellowship. This could be done at the church, a home, or in a nearby restaurant.
- Never mistake young people as “the future of the church.” They are the church, and we should integrate them into the life of the church now. With that in mind, consider having at least one young person represented in some form of church leadership.
- Using technology to reach teens is dirt cheap when you compare it to the cost of a building. It takes more time than money and a willingness to apply what you’ve learned about the tools they are using to communicate. Therefore, engage relationally in online environments where youth hang out. We don’t have to compete with Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, etc., but we should use them to connect with teens. Anywhere they are, we should be too.
OUT OF THE BOX (Ideas to help churches reach people for Christ
- Hold an after-service barbecue or a pre-service breakfast. Have everyone who attends bring a canned food item for the local food bank.
- Host financial management seminars covering getting out of debt, retirement planning, saving for college and thriving as a single-income family.
- Organize a job-share and computer training conference in your church, providing training in resume writing, clothing for job interviews, interviewing skills, phone skills, and basic computer skills.
Whatever you do, make sure folks know you are providing this service because Jesus loves them. And finally, PUBLICIZE, PUBLICIZE, PUBLICIZE!!!!!!
Host A Rodeo –Host a bike rodeo to equip young riders with the best lessons for sharpening their bike safety as well as to reach out to the community. Here’s how:
- Hold the event at the church parking lot or playground.
- Create a “street” with chalk or spray paint lines (if on grass) that kids can ride around and mini traffic signs to teach the rules of the road ………stopping, swerving, braking, and more.
- Help kids master balance in a snail race to be the last to cross the finish line.
- Test bike control by having riders weave around cones set in a slalom pattern.
- Emphasize the importance of helmets with a helmet fitting station.
- Teach hand signals and enforce traffic laws.
- Get kids interested in bike maintenance with an “inspection station” where bike mechanics check seat height, brakes, tire pressure, chains, and more.
- Reward participants’ hard work by handing out certificates.
- Have prayer and a short devotion and hand out gospel tracts (designed for children) and possible new testaments.
God’s Kidz Music Camp
Consider having a fun summer music camp for the children in your county and surrounding area. Churches having done this have seen many conversions, reaching families who normally would not attend any church. The one-week, M-F schedule is as follows:
9 a.m. -Silly (fun) songs with the children
9:10 -Begin working on the musical you will present on Sunday evening
10:00 -Snack Break and Bathroom
10:20 -Small groups and drama rehearsal
11:00 -Large group rehearsal
12:00 -Lunch (sack lunch provided by each family)
12:30 -Leave for afternoon activities such as bowling, skating, nature preserves, parks…
3:00 -Return to church and parents pick up children
This is a wonderful outreach event that your community will embrace and greatly support. The goal is to have the children perform a musical drama on Sunday evening with only one week’s rehearsal. It sounds crazy, but I know it works!
For more information, please call our office at 828-437-0137.
Ministering at the Poles
It’s election time, and many churches have found ways to minister at election sites. If your church is a polling place or is near one you might consider the following:
- Provide free coffee to voters from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Offer to help with parking issues by directing traffic.
- Have men and women available to escort folks into the building with umbrellas if it begins to rain.
- Provide breakfast, (and/or) lunch, (and/or) supper for poll workers at no cost.
If you do any or all of these, you will be surprised how it will bless the community. Remember, this is not a time where you tell folks who to vote for. It is, however, a time to show kindness in the name of Jesus!
Plant A Church
I pray for the day when every church is involved in church planting. Below are some ways churches of every size can be involved in church planting:
1. Church Planting Activities -Help a new church with prayer walking, backyard Bible clubs, evangelistic surveys, or Scripture distribution.
2. Sponsor or Co-sponsor -Come alongside a new church with finances, prayer, and friendship.
3. Core Group -You could send members out from your own congregation to help plant a church.
It will take all kinds of churches to reach our area for Jesus. New churches come from the Lord, and they come from you, your church, and your Acts 1:8 partners. Be a part of helping to start a church. You can do it, and CRBA can help
As a summer full of mission opportunities, relaxing vacations, and beet-red shoulders comes to a close, it’s time to jump into the swing of school and some exciting opportunities to engage the mission field of your local campuses.
Here are some ideas for serving your community in the back-to-school season.
Help parents and kids in your community celebrate the new school year by hosting a fun event at your church. Set up stations around your church parking lot or campus—face painting, photo booth, ring toss, cupcake walk, craft table. (Check out Pinterest for more ideas!)
Teacher Appreciation Day
Provide baked goods, fruit, snacks, and coffee in the teachers’ lounge of a local school. Write notes of encouragement to the teachers for a great school year.
Ask the principal of the school if you can place a prayer request box in the teachers’ lounge so you can pray for teachers all year. Another idea is to cater lunch on an in-service training day.
Adopt a Student
Is your church in a college town? Encourage church families or small groups to “adopt” a student at the beginning of each semester.
Give them a tour of the town and point out popular local spots. Invite them for meals or special holiday celebrations. Students usually appreciate a free meal and a place to do laundry.
Work with college ministries to organize a college day at your church. Decorate with the school colors, invite and honor college guests, and host a free pizza lunch where students can meet members of your church and leaders of the on-campus Christian groups.
School Day, Moms Pray
Host a tea for moms just after they drop their kids off for school. Seat them by school or child’s grade level for fellowship.
Pray for the moms and the children. Provide a list of church activities and worship times.
Kids invite their school teacher, principal, cafeteria worker, etc., and sit by them in worship. Pray for them during church and honor them with a brief milk and cookies fellowship afterward.
OUT OF THE BOX (Ideas to help churches reach people for Jesus)
Race to Win
Sunday School Growth Campaign
As you begin the new upcoming Sunday School year, you might consider a Race to Win high attendance day. Ask classes to set a numerical goal for their class, and then, once you have added those numbers together, you have your high attendance goal for the entire Sunday School. Once you have the goal set and the date established, decorate the classrooms, foyer, and Worship Center four weeks prior to the high attendance day (Victory Sunday).
Decorate the rooms, foyer, and sanctuary with anything racing-oriented. I know of one church who even put a sports car on the platform. Other ideas include putting Go-carts in the foyer and worship center. If you need racing ideas go to http://www.orientaltrading.com/.
Whatever you do, encourage the folks to bring the lost. You might even want to have a pinewood derby race for the children on the Saturday prior. Sermon ideas include: The Winners Circle, Racing to Win, and Are you in the Race?
For more ideas on Racing to Win please give Robby a call at the CRBA office.
Party-driven Sunday School growth
- You can double your class in two years or less. It only takes 40% growth, or an average class going from 10 to 14 in a year to double in two years or less. Yet, the results are amazing. A group that doubles every eighteen months can reach a thousand people in ten years. That is a fact of simple math. The fact is, there is a worldwide movement of God by which this is happening.
- Parties are one of the best ways I know to grow a class. Here is the formula: invite every member and every prospect to every fellowship every month.
A Sunday School leader had dinner and a movie at their house last Friday night. It was great. They had a Pot-luck dinner at 7:00 and a movie to follow. Curious thing, they didn’t have any new people show up at the party, but they had their all-time high attendance on Sunday. I have seen it happen more times than I can count.
Have you tried it? Why not follow the scriptures that say:
- Get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner. Romans 12:13 [Living]
- Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9 [NIV]
David Francis, leader of Sunday School for Lifeway, endorses the party-driven approach. For more details, link to the full pdf file at: www.lifeway.com/sundayschool
Free Hot Chocolate –Cocoa provides first contact in Friday evening evangelism.
by Charles R. HughesMichael and C.J. respond positively while standing in the baptistery. “Are you trusting Jesus Christ alone for eternal life?” Both young men say yes. We first met them at the Laundromat one block from the church.
Ours is the tiniest church in town, with 75 seats in the auditorium, and the small house next door is our office and education space. We faithfully support missions around the world, but we wondered how our church could reach those in our community who need Christ. That’s when we started giving away free hot chocolate.
Every Friday night starting at 5:30, we walk through our neighborhood, talking with the people we meet and offering cups of cocoa. (We call it FEET, Friday Evening Evangelism Training.)
A freshman ministerial student leads out, taking a few young people with him. Those we meet on the streets, we ask to take an opinion survey.
- In your opinion, as we seek to build ministry in this neighborhood, should we focus on children, youth, adults, or seniors?
- In your opinion, why do some in our community not attend church?
- In your opinion, what does it take for one to enter heaven?
- May I share with you how I came to know for certain if I were to die I would go to heaven?
Using a brochure, we share a five-point gospel presentation based on the acrostic TRUTH. We also invite them to church and ask if we may send a postcard after our talk. That starts several follow-up contacts. Follow-up is the key.
C.J. and Michael came to church wearing rings in their ears, noses, eyebrows, lips, and tongues. They stayed after the service to talk with Ricky, who first offered them free hot chocolate, and with Wayne, a drywall contractor. While church members prayed in another room, C.J. and Michael asked questions and later professed their faith in Christ. Soon they were baptized.
Friday night is not usually the time to plan recurring ministry, but it works in our community. Our church has grown from 30 to 40, including young men like C.J. and Michael, who have joined in sharing cocoa and the gospel.