There is something powerful about a group of people that give up time on their holidays to serve others with the love of Christ. When we first started reaching out on holidays we thought we would have a very low participation from our church since many times, holidays are the only dates families get together. However, we have seen the opposite. Families from our church flock to these outreaches and the community responds. We have learned Holidays are a great time to reach out and serve your community. Here is a list of outreaches that have blessed our church and God has used:
1. Superbowl Weekend
All around the nation people gather together to watch the Super Bowl. In fact research tells us that 1/3rd of America watches the Big Game, so we count this as a holiday. Our favorite outreach to do on the day before or the day of the Super Bowl is to go to apartment complexes, duplexes, or neighborhoods where the houses are close together, going door to door giving away free soda and popcorn. We coach our teams to knock on the doors, and when people answer say, “Hey guys we know its Super Bowl weekend, so we are showing Christ’s love in a practical way by giving out free soda and free popcorn, so how many do you need?” Our teams give as many cans and packs of popcorn as there are people at the Super Bowl party. We have also done this outreach simply giving away 2 liters.
We have seen this outreach touch many people. I still remember doing this outreach as a junior high student and seeing a man our team served and prayed for at church the next weekend. A friend of mine, who is a pastor, told me that a lady they reached on a similar outreach came to their church gathering 4 years later, with the empty can of free soda exclaiming how much it connected with her. This same woman ended up Surrendering her life to Christ and became a staff member at the church in which served her in a practical way.
2. Valentines Day
Valentines Day can be extremely lonely for some people. We like to go around passing out packets with Valentines day candy and an outreach card packed in them to businesses to let people know that God loves and cares for them in a practical way. We usually simply tell people what we are doing, and after we give out the candy packs we ask if we can say a quick 10 second prayer for those we are serving.
One lady that we met on this outreach, who now attends our church, said that she actually threw away the candy due to her diet, but she remembered the kindness and 10 second prayer.
This is a profound statement. Many people are reminded that they are alone on valentines day, but when we step out to love through simple acts of kindness done with no strings attached, even if those we are serving aren’t wanting what we are materially offering, God’s kindness and love moves through us to reach those that are hurting and lonely.
3. Mothers Day
The Saturday before Mother’s day we take 600 carnations and do a Free Mothers Day Carnation giveaway. We divide different teams to go to different areas of our community to pass these out. We have teams that go to businesses, teams that go to nursing homes and hospitals, teams that go to sporting events and parks, and even teams that go to traffic lights and give flowers to people in their cars when they stop at a red light.
When we started this outreach we focused on women, but we quickly realized than men get as excited receiving a flower to give to their wife or mom as women do. We coach our teams to say “We are serving our community today to show God’s love in a practical way by giving out free carnations, do you want a red or yellow carnation?” We have been shocked by the turn out from our church to serve others on mothers day weekend.
This outreach has quickly become the outreach that the most people within our congregation show up to serve at. We have averaged 80 people on the past two mothers day outreaches. It is easy to cultivate a churches passion to reach women on this weekend and i would suggest if you try any of these outreaches, this be the one you lead your church in.
Our favorite outreach to do on Halloween night is a free glow stick/bracelet giveaway. For this outreach you just need to find a neighborhood that is extremely popular for kids and families to go trick or treating in. About 30 minutes before sunset, Take about 6 people per team, Grab a few tables, a couple signs that say Free Glow Sticks, a ton of outreach cards, anywhere from 300-2,000 glow sticks, and get ready to be swamped. Kids and families will start flocking to your Free Glow Stick tables. We buy all of the same color glow sticks (bright yellow) and coach our teams to simply say to families, “Would you like a free glow bracelet or free glow necklace”. We have found out that it is cheaper to just buy all glow bracelets and if they want a necklace we just connect two bracelets together to make a glow necklace.
Parents have come up to our teams during the outreaches and thanked us because when it gets dark, the glow necklaces help them keep track of their kids.
On other outreaches people have asked us if we are the “Free Glow Stick Church”. We have been able to reach 1000’s of people in just 2 hours through this outreach and it has become one of the favorites of our church and a way to identify that we are committed to serving others in simple, yet practical ways. On Halloween Night we actually do 4 or 5 different kinds of outreaches which include reverse trick or treats and free hot dog giveaways, you can read about those outreaches if you click here,
Black friday crowds set up perfectly for church’s to reach out in practical ways. The best way to do this is to find a large line, or crowd of people waiting for black friday deals to drop and to bring them free coffee. We have also worked it out with stores to where we are allowed to set up a table where the lines will gather to offer free coffee that way. The best way to do this is to buy Starbucks traveler coffee jugs (see pic below) so you can be mobile. We coach our teams to just say, “We are giving away free coffee tonight, do you want it black or with cream?” If Starbucks is a bit pricey for your budget you can bring your own coffee machines and brew it at the table. Adaptions of this outreaches we have done are free hot chocolate giveaways, free hand warmers, or free winter survival kits with chap stick, cough drops, and facial tissues. We have never done this outreach, but i have heard of some churches that buy turkeys at cost, and take them to low income neighborhoods before thanksgiving so they may still enjoy a thanksgiving meal.
Our favorite way to serve our community on Christmas day is to deliver donuts to people having to work, away from their families, on the morning of December 25th. Simply order a bunch of donuts and take boxes to where there are people that are working(hospitals, hotels, restaurants, etc). Tell them that you wanted to remind them that God loves them and thank them for working on a holiday. Drop off the donuts with a connection card that says, ” Just for you just because… We hope this small gift brightens your day, there are no strings attached, we just wanted to let you know that God loves you” and offer to say a quick 10 second prayer for them.
Our church has done this outreach on Christmas Eve @ 4pm & Christmas day @ 10am for the past 3 years and it has become a favorite among our people. Families use this outreach to teach their kids that Christmas is not about us, but its about Christ and serving others. Furthermore, Businesses have told us that they wait eagerly to receive our donuts and prayers, and that they can always count on us to be there on Christmas Eve and Christmas day! Just like with Halloween, we do multiple different outreaches around the Christmas Holiday which include free gift wrapping and free hot chocolate giveaways, you can read about these outreaches by clicking here.
Holiday’s such as July 4th, New Years Eve, Memorial Day, and Labor Day all would be worth reaching out on as well. We have stuck to these six holidays mentioned and have had a great time serving our community whether its mothers day, Christmas, or Superbowl Weekend. If you are trying to get a church into the community and serving others to tell and show them about the love of Christ, holidays are a great place to start.