I recently had the privilege of helping a church with some outreach events. The schedule included a time of encouraging those participating in the outreach (about a dozen) on Friday evening, a breakfast and teaching session Saturday morning, followed by our outreach event. This was the first time that this church had conducted an outreach like this so everyone was wondering how it would turn out (would anyone actually come to the event?!).
First of all, I was so encouraged by the number of folks coming together to help with the outreach! Having a dozen-plus folks show up for outreach in a smaller community is huge. The event was held in the church parking lot and included free hot dogs (cooked onsite) with all the fixings, chips and drinks; as well as some prize drawing giveaways-all while the church's worship team played and testimonies were shared. The outreach schedule started at 11 a.m. and began wrapping up at 2:30 p.m.
Initially, the pastor wasn't too excited about this first time event. But, I brought several things to his attention. First, the community was more aware than ever that a church existed in their community that cared enough to offer some hospitality to their neighbors. Second, approximately seventy (70) visitors wandered through the festivities, which was great for a first-time event like this! Third, consistent events pay off. Don't make pass or fail judgments on the turnout of one event. Word will spread and the community just may begin looking forward to a church's annual event if it's done with excellence in the right spirit of ministry.
The pastor agreed that this would be something worth continuing and that the event was as good for the church family as it was for the community. As a matter of fact, at one point the pastor stated, "If this outreach was for nobody else, it was for us." That's one of the paradigms of working with God and obeying the Great Commission: when we are obedient to take the gospel to our communities, God actually does a work in us and in our church family as well. How ironic, that we truly receive something new and refreshing from the Lord when we work to give away that which we already have - the hope of Christ. So celebrate the little things and watch them grow!
TAKE A SEC: Do you have an interesting evangelism thought or outreach idea? Leave a comment at http://evangelismgroup.wordpress.com and share what has really worked for you in your community!
Marshall M. Windsor, D.Min.
National Evangelists Presbyter