This past saturday we had around 30 people divide into 3 teams that went out to serve our community in practical ways. We had a free leaf raking team, a team that provided a local laundry mat with a free laundry day, and a team that gave out blankets to nursing homes. Here is a brief summary of what we did and some highlights of each outreach:
1. Blanket Giveaway at Nursing home
This team took 100 blankets that we either purchased at Wal-Mart or had donated to local nursing homes and gave them out. One of our leaders noticed on a previous nursing home outreach that many of the people living there did not have their own blankets, so we thought this would be a fun and practical way to show Christ’s love. We went door to door giving out the blankets and saying prayers for those we were serving.
Our team met a sweet lady who was turning 98 and we were able to give her a blanket as a birthday gift. Our team said this lady was deeply moved that we were showing God’s love in such a practical way, and it just happened to be on her 98th birthday!
When we love on our local nursing homes we always notice that God is also using us to impact the employees that devote their life to this type of service. We have been able to develop relationships, encourage, and pray for the employees of the nursing homes as we have committed to serving there on a consistent basis.
2. Leaf Raking
Usually on this outreach we just show up to a neighborhood that has a bunch of leaves and go door to door telling people that we are leaf raking front yards for free to display the love of God in a practical way and knock out 5 or 6 houses in an hour and a half. However, this Saturday we went to the house of an elderly woman who’s daughter goes to our church so we could bless her by raking her leaves. Our team worked tirelessly and when the hour and half that we planned on serving was gone, they had raked more than 50 bags and made the front, side, and back yard look great.
I was a little worried because i thought our team was going to be frustrated that they only got to one yard, but after the outreach, they were all very excited and saw the purpose in taking the entire time to serve someone’s mom within our church who needed it. A large part of reaching the community that is around us is to show them that we love, serve, and take care of our own. We do enough leaf raking outreaches throughout the year that taking this weekend to serve in this way was well worth it.
3. Free Laundry Day
Our Free Laundry team went to a local laundry mat with $200 in quarters, donuts, and coloring books to bring some fun to a very mundane task. We simply tell everyone in the laundry mat that we are providing a free laundry day to show Jesus’ love in a practical way.
The best part of this outreach is the time you get to spend with people while they do their laundry. Our teams are able to make connections, get in deep conversations, and many times share the Gospel in a very organic way.
On this Saturday I was on the free laundry team and I was able to meet and connect with a man named Jason. We talked about our families, his job, and our struggles. I felt the Lord prompt me to share the Gospel with Jason after some time talking with him. Kindness Outreach provides a great Segway into the Gospel since we tell everyone we are there to love, serve, and give a free gift with no strings attached. Among other things I explained to Jason that just like the quarters were our free gift to him, God’s free gift of salvation is through Christ and just like he accepted the free laundry day we were providing, all God requires of us is to accept His Son Jesus and to surrender our lives to following him. Jason kept saying, “I know God sent you here to talk to me today” (this is very common on our outreaches by the way). Jason told me that He received Christ 5 years ago, but since then he has strayed away and gotten into some things that has hurt his family, his job, and his faith. I was able to encourage Jason that we serve a God that is abundant in mercy and shared with him the story of the Prodigal Son. I told him that God is waiting for him with open arms and He will show him nothing, but kindness when Jason returns rather than requiring him to do religious acts to get back on His good side. God used this to impact this man deeply. We exchanged phone numbers and he told me that he did not have a church and he was going to come to ours either Sunday or Wednesday. Pray for Jason.
We serve a God that is not random and i know God had me there specifically for Jason. Many people from our church have felt this same way when they connect with individuals in our community during outreaches. God does the hard part, we are simply called to be obedient and to go out and serve!
I will continue to post outlines and highlights after each of our outreaches. I hope they will encourage you to start living an outwardly focused life and give you some simple tools to use as a church and as individuals. Please contact me if i can assist in any way.