One of the beautiful things about reaching out and serving in practical ways is how cheaply your outreaches can be. This is good news for most church planters, churches just getting outreach started, or even families looking to serve in creative ways in their community. Kindness Outreach can be done on a budget, and still be very effective. Here are some of our favorite cheap or even free Kindness Outreaches:
1. Trash Takeout
This idea is simple. Go to where people have to take their trash out to a centralized dumpster and offer to do it for them. This is best accomplished at apartment complexes where there are hundreds of units, many stairs, and several centralized dumpsters. Go door to door explaining that your team is showing God’s love in a practical way by taking everyone’s trash out for free today. The best part about this outreach is that this costs your team/church absolutely nothing. We got to the point that after we took someone’s trash out we would give them a replacement trash bag, but even those are super cheap.
If you live in an area that doesn’t do trash take out like this, consider going to parks or parking lots with your team and start picking up trash. Get some cheap vests or shirts that say “Kindness in Progress” for your team to wear. This is sure to get people asking who you are and why you are doing this.
2. Free Car Wash
Washing cars for free is another great outreach you can do on a budget. The initial buying of hoses, towels, soap, signs, etc. might seem a little pricey, but once you have bought these supplies, they will last a long time. For this outreach, have it arranged with a local business (maybe somewhere you have seen carwashes done before) and explain that your church wants to do a car wash for free, without taking donations, as a way to show kindness to the community. We have found most businesses, especially the ones that know you from outreach, are excited about this new twist of a church washing cars without asking for something in return.
If you live in a warm weather climate, I would suggest doing this outreach as much as you can which will make the initial start up cost of buying the materials even cheaper.
3. Window Washing
Business window washing is a staple outreach in our church plant. You can serve 100’s of businesses for very little cost. For this outreach we keep it simple by using cheap window glass cleaner and paper towels. That’s it! You can alway get carried away by buying large squeegees, ladders, cloths, etc. but we truly believe in this case, less is more.
We simply go into businesses and tell them that we are cleaning all of the windows in the business park for free to show God’s love in a practical way. We make sure we tell them this is not for donations and simply ask if we can take the smudges off. Some businesses will so no, but most will say yes.
I’ll never forget the manager of a business who had his windows washed by us pulling me aside and saying, “There are a lot of churches that talk, but you guys SHOW!” What a powerful compliment that was.
4. Water/Coffee Giveaway
Water or Coffee Giveaway stations have become one of our favorite outreaches to do with our church. We have a great trail system that hundreds of people hike every day. This allows us to do water giveaways during the spring and summer, and coffee giveaways during the winter and fall. Water is of course cheaper than coffee; however, if you are needing to save money, you can always brew your own pot. Bus/train stops and parks are great places to try a water or coffee station as well.
5. Serve With Your City
One free way to make a big splash in your community is to help the city out with already planned events. Whether it is volunteering to pick up trash, volunteering to set up, or simply manning booths, cities are always looking for volunteers to help out at city wide events.
Churches that do this overtime have seen God grant their church favor even in hostile cities from offering to serve with the city with no strings attached. Check out your community calendar and try to grab a coffee with the city’s volunteer coordinator. City wide events like festivals and trash pick up days are easy and free ways to serve with your city. Consider volunteering to do the job that no one else want to do.