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Dr. Pepper Giveaway

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. IMG_0196

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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.

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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. IMG_0243

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4. Halloween

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,

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5. Thanksgiving

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.

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6. Christmas

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.

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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.

One of the most important areas of being effective in outreach ministry is being able to use what you got and use it to the fullest. We had about 30 Dr. Peppers left from the Red Box outreach I wrote about a few weeks ago. Instead of putting these in the church fridge and drinking them or selling them, we wanted them to be used for another outreach. So today my friend Trevor and I went out with a cooler filled with the left over Dr. Peppers and Waters. It is about 90 degrees today so we decided to pass them out at places that people were having to work outside. The first and main place we went to was an outside oil change and car wash place. It was a very simple outreach, Trevor and I would just walk up to people working with a diet Dr. Pepper in one hand and a regular in the other. Then we simply said something like ” Hey, we are passing out Dr. Peppers today to outside workers to show God’s love in a practical way…would you like diet or regular” This outreach actually went very well, Dr. Pepper is king in the south and on a hot day it is like gold. Many people took it and took our card that explains why we do this and why we are serving them and they seemed very appreciative. Although Dr. Pepper is king; the best story of the day comes from a  large coke from Taco Casa.

As we passed out the Dr. Peppers we met a lady named Kathy. She was working inside and when we asked her if she wanted a Dr. Pepper she said, ” No I’m more of a coke person myself” We laughed and I asked her if she was from the south and she made sure I knew she was “Born and Raised in the South” but she just liked coke. We joked around telling her we will make sure we have a coke specifically for her next time we do this. As we were leaving we got an idea to go to Taco Casa (a restaurant which is right by the car wash place) and get Kathy a large Coke…not a Dr. Pepper. Trevor got the coke and we pulled up to where Kathy was having a cigarette outside the office and Trevor rolled down his window and gave her the large coke. You could see the surprise in her eyes. Trevor gave her our outreach card and said. ” let us know if you need anything else” She looked at us and said ” All I need is prayer” She explained that her brother in law had just suffered a stroke and that he was not doing so well. We asked if we could pray for her and her brother in law and she agreed to let us do so. Trevor asked for the brother in law’s name and he prayed a simple and quick prayer for Kathy and her brother. Kathy seemed very appreciative of this and we left.

It was amazing that God prepared Kathy and us for that moment and it was also amazing that we were able to pray an actual prayer for her and her brother right there. You know the words “I’ll be praying for you” have become so cliché in our culture today. Atheist even say “I’ll keep you in my prayers” and all it means is I will be thinking about you. I constantly hear Christians and even find myself sometimes saying “I’ll pray for you” but never do it. It is very powerful when we do what we say we will do in the context of prayer. My youth minister told me that he told a man he had just met at the gym that he would pray for someone in his family and then when he saw them again about a month later when he told them that he was still praying for them he was touched that he was literally and actually praying for that certain person in his family. I am going to ask my pastor if we can pray for Kathy and her brother during the service sunday even though no one in our church knows her. Furthermore, either Trevor or I will actually and literally pray for Kathy and her brother and maybe even call her or go see her to ask how her brother is doing in a week or two.

Outreach goes so much further than a simple Dr. Pepper can. Outreach and serving people is not a program, but it is an authentic lifestyle. God used a simple Dr. Pepper can, or a coke rather to touch Kathy and allow us to pray for Kathy. And now we will have a person to follow up on and simply just say “hey, we have been praying for you and so has our church how are thins going?” and we will be praying, literally praying.

A couple of people I know have been trying out this idea of service evangelism and they have seen God do some great things. One of my friends leads a weekly water outreach at a park and they met a lady who came to church b/c of their outreach and accepted Christ that day in church. I am very excited about this and I hope those of you that read this can take what I am writing to heart and go and do some of these outreaches. Again this blog is for people to get ideas from and hopefully get inspired by… this is not me wanting to just selfishly show what kind of servant I am or write about my day, but I hope you who are reading this want to try to reach people in a genuine and effective way.

We have our 1 dollar car wash set to go on the morning of Sept. 25th (this is where we advertise a 1 dollar car wash, but we wash cars for free and then give that person a dollar) If you are in the Weatherford area and would like to come serve that day with us we would love to have you. This is a kingdom service outreach not a specific church service outreach even though we are doing this through my church Greenwood. So if you belong to another church or even don’t go to church, but still want to be apart of what we are doing that day we would love to have you. Contact me on facebook or call/text me (817) 694-6185

– Austin Cooper