COMPILED BY DEANNA GREILING
Used with permission from Outreach Magazine
Now that the Arctic freeze has abated a little bit, it’s time to start thinking about reaching out to your community in the months and weeks leading up to Easter. Community outreach doesn’t need to be a huge project – it can be as simple or complex as you want. Our friends over at Outreach magazine compiled and published a great list of idea starters in their annual Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America special issue and here are our favorite ideas for Spring 2019:
- Assign each adult Sunday school or small group to a geographical area in the city and outlying areas, with a designated “care captain.” Send teams door to door to survey each area’s greatest needs, then encourage each group to find ways to meet those needs.
- Host a Spring Fling party in a neighborhood park and recruit some of your city’s chefs to prepare free food for residents and volunteers. Provide music and entertain kids with games while grown-ups enjoy the food and social interaction. Pass out an invitation to a Sunday morning church service or Bible study.
- Offer free child care for military couples so they can attend a marriage enrichment event or counseling session, or just have a date night to connect.
- Become a visible presence at community sports events. Start a running or cycling club to help people train for a race; or sponsor a community team. Your church could also provide relief stations with water; serve as the cleanup crew for the event; or take photos before, during and after the event that you make available for free to participants.
- Connect with the community by sending teams of three or four people to deliver invitations to church accompanied by complimentary baked goods or help with yard tasks like raking leaves or cleaning rain gutters.
- Bring a smile to nursing home residents by giving them roses on Valentine’s Day or lilies at Easter.
- Provide teddy bears for children that law enforcement officers encounter in traumatic situations. Enlist church volunteers to make or purchase the teddy bears.
- Organize a senior wellness fair. Invite the community to attend talks on nutrition, fitness, brain health, estate planning, living wills, safety, elder law and abuse and other pertinent topics given by professionals in the field. Offer free blood pressure, vision and hearing screenings.
- Host a drama group for first- through sixth-graders and put on a musical. Have the students invite their friends, family and teachers to the performance.
- Make and deliver handmade toys for hospitalized kids. Volunteers from your church can bring smiles to the faces of hospitalized children, abused and neglected kids and others by creating and delivering these handmade toys.
- Hold monthly, one-night “mission trips” to help out in low-income neighborhoods. Promote the trips like cross-cultural adventures for your congregation.
- Connect with motorcycle enthusiasts in your community. Sponsor a motorcycle rally and invite bikers to join in. Organize the event a week before Easter and ask participants to your Easter services.
- Set up an outdoor tent on your church property and have the congregation invite unchurched friends to a Sunday service followed by a barbecue. Organize several games that inspire fellowship.
- Plant a garden and invite the community to reap the bounty while also helping cash-strapped families.
- Connect local businesses and the unemployed with a job fair. Promote it on your church’s website, Facebook and Twitter. Hang posters in local grocery stores, shelters, food pantries, etc. Be sure to name a few participating businesses in your promotions.
- Share social justice issues and ways to address global issues of human trafficking, disaster relief, etc. Invite local charities to set up booths and disseminate information.
- Inspire community with dinner and a movie. One Michigan church hosts a potluck dinner, offers struggling folks food from its pantry, then plays a movie.
- Set up a Saturday filled with service opportunities. One Ohio church helped seven missions in their community with volunteers who traveled to various work sites across the community to assist with projects.
- Help area residents from other countries improve their conversational English and teach them Scripture in the process through a program like FriendSpeak (org).
What activities and events does your church have planned this Spring? Share them with us and other pastors- Join the Outreach – Churches Reaching Their Communities Facebook group to share ideas!
Outreach magazine shares stories of outreach, helping Christian leadership discover the ideas, innovations and resources that will equip them to advance the kingdom of God through the outreach efforts of the local church – click here to subscribe today!