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Free Drink Giveaway

If you have ever been to a Sunday morning gathering, chances are that you have experienced the “greeting” time where the pastor or a staff member stands before the crowd and says, “Let’s get to know each other this morning, find someone you don’t know and get to know them.” Then you search out faces you don’t know, shake their hand, introduce yourself to them, get their names, and before you even get back to your seat you are thinking, “What the heck was their name again?” Then the next week when you see them for the second time, you are hesitant to talk to them because you already forgot their name! 

This process can be great to make visitors feel welcome, but cannot be relied on to truly grow the church in unity and fellowship. We have found that true relationships and growth are spurred on when our church serves together. We like to say, a church that serves together, grows together. 

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When we set out to serve our community in practical ways, team building is accomplished among each other. I know more people on a deeper level in our church through our Saturday outreaches than i do through Sunday gatherings or even through the small group my wife and i go to since the small group is just a microcosm of our overall body of believers. Through Saturday outreaches, I know people’s names, i hear their testimonies, i see their personalities, I share in their fears, anxieties, and excitements, i encourage, get encouraged, and ultimately i grow with those i serve with simply because this is how God designed us.

If you have ever been on a mission trip, you have experienced this kind of growth to where you truly consider those you are serving with your family. Many churches have this experience on mission trips that they go on once a year, but once they get back home this family culture fades in the absence of an effort to reach the local community around them.

This is where a consistent effort to reach people in your community through showing God’s love in a practical way becomes so benneficial for the people of the church to grow together.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who pastored a congregation in Forth Worth. He told me that once they started doing outreach multiple people who had been apart of the church for 15 years came up to him and said, “For the first time ever, i feel like i am a TRUE member of this church.”

Another man i met while we were training his church in kindness outreach was obviously very sad and lonely even among his own church family. He was extremely shy and introverted so we gave him a sign holding job on one of our Roadside Free Drink Giveaways. You could tell he was nervous at first, but after he saw that his job of holding the sign had a tremendous effect on if motorists took a free drink or not, he started getting very excited. Other members of his church who were serving with him started encouraging him as he was encouraging them as well. They learned each others names and personalities as they served together. That day we passed out 100’s of drink in just an hour with a team that had never done anything like this before. This man came up to me with tears in his eyes, shook my hand, and said. “Austin, today was one of the best days of my life!”

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Now that is powerful!

Was this tremendous joy that  this man had due to him holding a sign? No way, but this man experienced community among his church family like never before when he decided to step out and serve his city in a practical way. He identified himself with his church family truly for the first time. 

When we grow in our love together as fellow believers, the community takes notice and this in of itself becomes an attracting power to the Church and to Jesus. Show God’s love in a practical way on a continuous basis and I guarantee you that your church that is serving together, will grow together.

Last post I talked about how we can start setting up introverts to succeed in reaching others for Christ, If you have not read that post i suggest you give it a quick read before you check out this post. You can find it here:

https://cooperaustin.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/1253/

Here are 5 great Kindness Outreaches that allow introverts to thrive and grow in their boldness while serving others.

1. $1 Car Wash

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This Kindness Outreach is where we hold up big signs that read “$1 Car Wash”. People are already thinking that they are getting a great deal, yet when they pull in, we wash their car for free and give them a dollar to remind them that Jesus’ love is free and it just has to be accepted like they are accepting the dollar. A majority of the team just washes and dries while only a few talk to the people we are serving. 

2. Business Window Washing

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Go get some paper towels and Windex and simply go to businesses explaining , “Hey we are washing windows for free today at all the businesses on this strip, and we are not taking any donations” once they agree to letting you wash their windows, have your team get to work.

Looking at this Picture it is obvious that God is working through these children to serve and reach people even though most of them are introverts at this stage in their life. The point here is if they were pushed too far too fast, it would leave a bad taste of what outreach is in their mouth. However, these kids are growing by serving and we have had instances where kids become bold enough to start praying with the people we are serving and even in some instances sharing their faith!

3. Leaf Raking 

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This Outreach is best done in late winter and early spring when there are leaves on the ground. Only 2 or 3 people are required to knock on the door and explain to homeowners that we are leaf raking yards in their neighborhood for free. It takes the other 10 people to do the raking and bagging.

4. Roadside Drink Giveaway

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On a warm day take gatorades and waters to a busy red light and have your team hold up Free Drink Signs. Have people simply walk up to the cars at the red-light, and with a big smile simply say, “Would you like a Free water or Free Gatorade?”

At first this outreach sounds a bit bold and scary for some. However introverts make for great sign holders and there is always a need for team members to refill the bags with drinks.

5. Apartment Trash Takeout

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Most apartments have centralized dumpsters and the people living there are required to take their own trash out to the dumpster. Have your team of 4 or 5 people go door to door saying “We are taking everyone’s trash out for free today just to show you that Jesus loves you in a practical way.” they will almost always bring you their trash and you can give them a replacement bags.

Introverts love this outreach because their job can simply be taking the trash to the dumpster while the other team members can hand the talking and saying quick 10 second prayers with the people that they are serving.

As you can see all of these outreaches consist of the same formula. 2 or 3 talk, the rest of the team serves. God has done some amazing things in the life of introverts in our church (By the way about 70% of church members in the U.S. are introverts). We believe by not trying to push introverts too fast, but by setting them up to succeed in reaching out through serving makes all the difference. This will change an inward focused church into an outward focus church that is a dangerous tool in advancing God’s kingdom.

The ministry of John The Baptist is one that has always spoken to me. John’s ministry simply was to prepare the way for Jesus to come and usher in His kingdom. John did not focus on methods or programs, but just simply lived a life that prepared the way for Jesus. John 1:6-9 says this:

There was a man named John who was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to witness about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”

Later on Jesus says that John the Baptist was the greatest man ever to be born of a woman. That’s a pretty great title!

So what can we learn from this?

John was considered great because he paved the way for Christ to do His work. He was a forerunner of Christ. I wonder how many churches would be transformed if we had more of a John The Baptist Characteristic... to be focused on paving the way for Jesus’ kingdom rather than focusing on budgets, church attendance, and salvation numbers.

To truly transform the church to be the light in the dark world that we are called to be we need to start focusing more on simply paving the way for Christ. Reaching out with practical acts of service and loving others with no strings attached achieves this goal which makes us into a type of John The Baptist. Jesus says in John 6:43 that no one can come to Him except those who God draws. I am convinced when we step out and live outward focused, kingdom minded lives which are constantly showing God’s love in practical ways, God’s kindness moves through us to prepare the way for Jesus to lead those we are serving to repentance (Romans 2:4). When we do this we are simply testifying, like John, to a dark world that there is a Light and His name is Jesus! People see Jesus more clearly when we serve them with no strings attached and tell them that we are doing this just to let them know Jesus loves them!

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One example of this comes from a man that received a cold drink on a hot day from us. He wrote our church and said, “I have never seen Christ more clearly from a group of Christians than when i received this free drink and act of kindness.” This man was not even from our city. One of our ministers was facebook friends with him and decided to look him up. What she found was that after he received a free drink from us, he went to a special event at a church in his hometown and decided to follow Christ as his savior that day! He received a drink from us on a Saturday and accepted Christ that next Friday! 

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My point is this: God allowed our church to be a John The Baptist church where we simply were allowed to pave the path for Jesus to save a man who was in darkness. I am blown away God uses imperfect people to lead others to the one that is perfect, but He Does! As individuals and as churches lets focus on that… Paving the way for Christ to do His Work!

I have talked to many people at different churches that want to get an outreach ministry started at their church; however, they feel that their church is too small or there would not be enough help to support their outreach ministry. The great thing about God is that he can do awesome things with a group even as small as 2 or 3 . Saturday we had a group of 3 go out and pass out water and gatorade to people that were working in the heat or to people that were at parks in the hot Texas sun. We would approach people with the drinks and with a big smile on our face we would say, “Hey, we saw you out here in the heat and we thought that we would show you Christ’s love in a very practical way by bringing you water and gatorade….. so do you want water or gatorade?” Many people celebrated when we came up to them since they were hot and thirsty. We had many people ask us more about our ministry of showing God’s love in practical ways. We got to pray with various people that had prayer requests from the health of a husband who just had a liver transplant to a man who just wanted to continue to enjoy life. One lady stopped us and with tears in her eyes told us that it was remarkable for us to be ministering to people in this way.

The truth is, is that our group of three did very little, but God did much. I have been studying John the Baptist lately and all he did was pave the way for Jesus to come in and do His ministry. Jesus stated that John the Baptist was the greatest man to be born at that time and his ministry was simple… pave the way for Jesus to do his work. I feel like too many times in outreach ministry we try to make things way to complicated. We think we need a hundred people with a 100 thousand dollar budget to reach anybody, but the truth is that all we need to do is find people who want to pave the way for Christ to do His ministry. Maybe you have heard of the design principle K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid). For us on Saturday, that came in the form of 3 people who wanted to pave the way for Christ going out on a hot day to give people a water or gatorade, which was so simple, and with a big smile on our face say, “God loves you and wants to know you”.

Numbers are great and I pray that you who are having problems getting an outreach ministry going at your church will start being blessed by many people showing up and wanting to pave the way for Christ, but nowhere in the bible does God choose to use the biggest and strongest people to do His will. In fact God seems to always use the smallest and weakest to achieve something great and I truly believe that is how He still functions.

Keep it simple, do something small. Small things done with great love will change the world.

-Austin Cooper