Jesus has called His church to serve people. In fact, frequently in the gospels, Jesus reminds us that the path to true greatness, involves taking on the role of a servant. This is commonly done under the heading of outreach. As we serve people, we get to share with them about the Jesus who came to serve us, by giving His own life for us. However for many churches and many pastors there is a problem that keeps them from doing outreach, and that problem is money, or lack there of. There exists a myth that many churches and pastors have bought into, that sadly causes them to never attempt outreach of any kind. That myth is:
“For outreach to be effective, it has to be expensive.”
They will know that we are followers of Christ by the way we love, and by the way we serve.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Outreach does not have to be expensive in order to be effective. Churches and pastors, you can reach out to people without going broke! My hope is that this article will inspire and encourage you, brother pastor, to lead your church in effective, yet inexpensive outreach, all the while making the chairman of your finance committee smile. The best thing is that you can use all of these ideas to mobilize a variety of people in your church, regardless of age, or gifts to be a part of reaching out to your city, community, or state. A few of these ideas have actually been implemented in other churches, just like yours!
Get in the schools
One particular idea you could lead your church to do, is to host a Germ-X drive for your local school. When school lets out for the summer, immediately begin collecting bottles of hand sanitizer. Encourage your church members to purchase a bottle of hand sanitizer every time they go to Walmart and bring it to the church. Before school starts back, set up a time with the administration to deliver the bottles of sanitizer, for them to be distributed amongst the faculty. You could even attach a personalized note to each bottle. Believe me, these teachers will appreciate this, come flu season. Once you deliver the hand sanitizer take time to pray over the campus.
Build a blessing box
This next idea comes from Thaxton Baptist Church in Ponotoc County, MS. Some children at Thaxton had the idea of building a Blessing Box. Read these words from Pastor Michael Wilbanks.
“With the help of a handy adult, the kids had a night where they built it from the ground up. The cost was nothing more than the materials to build the box. $30 to $40. It is stocked by our whole church. We have times of emphasis where we encourage the church to bring cans on a particular day. In addition, when church members go grocery shopping some of them buy a few items to place in the box on their way home.” Michael Wilbanks
Inspect people’s cars
Do you have people in your Church who are mechanically inclined? You know the type of people I’m talking about. I’m talking about the ones who don’t have to mimic the sound their car is making to the mechanic in order to tell them what’s going on. Chances are they aren’t even taking their car to the mechanic to begin with. They can just fix it themselves.
Have a day at your church, where these men volunteer their time to inspect people’s cars free of charge. They can inspect hoses, check oil, and do other light work as a blessing to the community. Perhaps you can even provide light refreshments to those who come to take advantage of this opportunity.
Dwelling Place Church, out of Collins MS, recently took time to host a free event in which they did everything I just mentioned, and even taught people how to change a flat tire. Great idea Dwelling Place!
One final idea as we are talking outreach. As you do any of these events, make sure you incorporate a way to follow up with those you reach out to. Put some measures in place to guarantee that you have a means of contacting these individuals for follow up. The purpose of outreach isn’t just serving people, it’s getting the gospel to them.
I hope you’re seeing a common thread here. None of these ideas are expensive to pull off. Jesus called us to serve. We don’t have to go broke doing it.
Never forget: People will know that we are a church because of our sign. They will know that we are followers of Christ by the way we love, and by the way we serve. Let’s let our service validate our message.