Archive

holiday outreaches

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

IMG_0240

IMG_0238

IMG_0237

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.

IMG_0241

IMG_0242

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

IMG_0244

IMG_0245

IMG_0246

flower giveawayIMG_6147

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,

image 2

Halloween

photo

halloween3

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.

13757419275_11a03d80a4_oUnknownwinter survival kit

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.

donut giveaway zane

donut giveaway3

donut giveaway

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.

Halloween is one of those nights that sets up perfectly to reach your community due to the excitement, plethora of families, and openness of free kindness that exists. Whether you serve your community consistently or If you have been wanting to start Kindness Outreach in your church, Halloween night outreaches are a great way to make a splash, get your feet wet, and create a buzz in your community. Here are 5 great Halloween Outreaches:

1. Glow Necklace/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 our teams if we are the “Free Glow Stick Church”. It can be very easy to reach 1000’s of people in just 2 hours through this outreach and it has become one of the favorites of many churches and a way to identify that your church is committed to serving others in simple, yet practical ways.

halloween3 photoHalloween1 HalloweenIMG_0236

2. Reverse Trick or Treat

A fun way to reach people that are giving out candy on halloween night is to do what we call a Reverse Trick or Treat. The idea is to go to a neighborhood that there are a lot of houses giving out halloween candy, knock on doors, and instead of receiving candy, give something away to the people in the home instead.

We used to go home to home giving out dum dum suckers as our reverse trick or treat; however, we quickly realized that it is better to go door to door with something different than candy since they have an abundance of that. So now we coach teams to go door to door giving away popcorn packets and free red box promo codes glue dotted on the pop corn packets so those that we are serving can get a free red box movie on us. (see pic below.) We coach our teams to thank them for giving out candy to the community and ask if we can say a quick 10 second pray for them. God has allowed our teams to say prayers about everything from lost dogs to cancer right at the door step of the homes of the people we are serving. This outreach is a refreshing twist to trick or treating and is a great way for parents to teach kids about giving rather than receiving.

halloween2IMG_0231

3. Business Reverse Trick or Treating

There is nothing worse than having to work on Halloween night because you miss out on all the free candy!!! This simple adaption of our reverse trick or treat is a simple and effective way to serve employees of businesses working on halloween night. For this outreach all you need to do is pack some small bags of various candy, insert an outreach card, and go to an area of the city where businesses are still open. We coach our teams to enter businesses and say something like “Hey guys we know it stinks to work on Halloween night, so we wanted to bring you some free candy to show you God’s love in a practical way.” Sometimes if the business is busy we will just go to one person, ask them to get a count of employees and leave that many free bags of candy with them.

Our teams have been able to give out around  a 1000 of these free candy packs very quickly.

IMG_0234

4. Halloweenie Outreach

In the buzz and excitement of getting kids out the door and trick or treating, many families forget to eat dinner. This is where we come in. Find someone at your church who lives in a highly trafficked trick or treated neighborhood and send a team to their home with a grill, a couple tables, a few Free hot dog signs, drinks, and a bunch of hot dogs and condiments. As families pass by just simply tell them you are cooking free high quality hot dogs (we get the pure beef Hebrew Nationals) and everyone is welcome to them.

During this outreach our teams often get the comments from moms who tell us they completely forgot about dinner or that they are glad their kids are getting some protein to counteract the sugar coma that is surely to come later that night. Many times people that we are serving stick around so we can connect with them on a deeper level. They almost always ask, “who are you guys!!!”

dayhd3 nighthd1

5. Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin Outreach

This outreach is as simple as going and buying a huge pumpkin, setting it on a table, with a sign that says, Guess The Weight Of The Pumpkin. When kids come up to the table, we give them 3 guesses, tell them higher or lower each time, and if they are within 5 pounds they receive a prize (its a good idea to let every kid win in the end). in the past we gave out free gift cards to everyone that one which can be pretty expensive so just pick a prize that works for both your church and those that you are trying to reach.

This outreach is designed to reach families with kids. Strangely enough, one church that did this now has a family that is in their 60’s without kids that is now connected with the church because of this outreach. They saw what the outreach team was doing, were touched by it, and came to be a part of the church family because of the kindness they were showing others. God’s kindness is contagious and while we serve others it permeates even those standing by and observing. 

IMG_0233 IMG_0232

As we reach out on halloween night remember to keep things simple, fun, and creative. Whether you try one of these outreaches or all five, God’s kindness will move through you to reach those you are serving.

The truth is that our culture has kicked Jesus out of his own Birthday Party. Christmas is no longer a time that our nation celebrates Jesus’ birth, but has become a time of self indulgence, hording materials, and treating other people poorly. Christmas has become a politically correct holiday in which the word Christ is deemed offensive, and we are forced to say “Happy….whatever won’t offend you”

Many in the Christian circle have realized this and have tried to fight back. We have people that boycott buying presents, people that boycott businesses, people that Capitalize CHRIST in Christmas on every post to fight off the evil Xmas shorthand (even though the X  in Xmas means Christ). We have people that put up huge billboards that say JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!!!, and people that quite honestly have lost sight of the meaning of Christmas by trying to win it back for Christ.

I am convinced that the only way for us as Christ Followers to show our not-yet believing communities that Christ is at the very center of the holiday is to serve them in simple, yet practical ways with no strings attached, and to tell them that Jesus cares and loves for them. 

Here are 3 outreaches to do during the holidays to accomplish this:

#1 Christmas Day Donut Giveaway

To start winning back Christmas we have to be willing to serve people on Christmas day. One of the best ways to do this is to deliver donuts to people having to work on the day of Christmas. Simply order a bunch of donuts and take boxes to where there are people that are working. 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.

donut giveaway zanedonut giveaway 

donut giveaway3

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!

# 2 Free Gift Wrapping

Another great holiday outreach is to set up free gift wrapping booths in stores where people are buying presents for their loved ones. Find a business that will let you in and wrap. Usually privately owned businesses are the best candidates for this outreach instead of corporations. If you have the budget for it try renting a space in the mall and set up signs that say, “Free Gift Wrapping, No Donations Accepted”

free giftwrapping

Our church wraps both weekend before Christmas at a retail store. We wrap from open to close and have 3 people serving in 3 hour shifts. This outreach really speaks to people (especially husbands!) and is a super practical and fun way to serve others during the holidays!

free giftwrapping1 free giftwrapping2

# 3 Hot Coco Giveaway

Some of the best outreaches happen when we just love in simple ways to make sure people know that there is a God and He cares for them. A simple hot coco packet delivered door to door, to people having to work in the cold, or at a holiday parade is an easy and cheap way to share Christ’s love.

hot coco

Jesus ushered in his kingdom primarily through serving others and revealing who he was not just with his words, but with his acts of service. Again i am convinced that the only way that we as believers will get our communities to celebrate Christ on Christmas is through simple acts of kindness done with great love during the holidays.

This Halloween we reached more people in one Kindness Outreach than ever before. We had 3 Free Glow Stick teams and we had 3 reverse trick or treat teams (give away a gift rather than receive candy house to house and to businesses). Collectively we were able make around 4,000 individual connections! It was truly an amazing night:

image 2 photo Halloween halloween2 halloween3IMG_2531 IMG_2825

This begs the question… If we are not able to reach thousands yet, is it worth even reaching out?

I remember feeling overwhelmed when I would read about churches reaching thousands, there was even one outreach in Cincinnati where churches gave out 350,000 free sodas! I would look around and think….There is no way we can reach that many people with our church today. God spoke to me when I was feeling overwhelmed and He showed me that to truly reach a city, a good variety of reaching 1000’s and reaching 10’s is needed

Some of the greatest Kindness Outreaches we have had has been when our teams come back and they have only reached around 10 people. Usually this happens at free laundry days, free leaf raking, and our $1 car wash (wash the car & give away the dollar). However, these outreaches are designed to meet people and spend time getting to know them so that God can use us to reach deeper into their lives. There are plenty of times when we are at an outreach where we will only make about 10 connections that day, but God has allowed us to share the Gospel more in depthly with the people we have reached. Usually our teams come back with the Spirit of God moving in them and they always have stories to tell of someone they were able to make a deep connection with.

The truth is 2 many halloweens we only had 5-10 people giving out free glow sticks. This year we had 6 teams doing 3 different outreaches with over 60 people helping us serve. It takes time for these things to grow and my advice and encouragement to you is this:

Design outreaches where you can reach 1000’s, design outreaches where you can reach 10’s. Again a good variety of both is needed to reach a community.

If you are not to the place where you can reach thousands yet, focus on reaching 10’s and taking time to let God move through your team to reach those you are serving. Remember Jesus said that those who are found faithful in the small things will be given more… this applies to Kindness Outreach as well!

– Austin Cooper

Today’s outreach was pretty unique. I think it is neat to get kids involved in sharing their faith so that they will grow up with it just being natural to serve others and to share their faith organically. Steve, the man that mentored me loves getting his church’s kids involved in all of their outreaches. So today we did a kid-friendly outreach and we called it a Reverse Trick or Treat. We had about 250 bags filled with 15-20 dum dum’s and we had teams mixed with adults and kids go door to door and instead of receiving candy we had our kids pass out bags of candy. As the person came to the door we had our kids say “Reverse Trick or Treat” and we had our adults explain that we are doing a reverse trick or treat today to show them God’s love in a practical way. The kids all had a blast and it was a lot of fun seeing kids serve… kids seem to be naturally gifted in reaching people and warming hearts. Rain cut us short again (I swear it only rains in Weatherford when we have an outreach), but for the time we were out and passing out candy it went well.

My favorite story of the day came when I went into a business with my pastors son named Taylor to do the reverse trick or treat. We met a lady and Taylor handed her the bag of dum dum’s and she got a big smile on her face and told us that she had received a Dr. Pepper from us a couple of weekends before and she called us into her office where she had our outreach 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.” You could tell the Dr. Pepper a few weeks ago touched her and now we were reaching her again. I enjoyed this because it just goes to show that we have no idea what a Dr. Pepper or a bag of dum dum’s can do, especially when people are reached two or three times in different ways. Today my group only got to talk to a few people because most people were not home so we just left the bag of dum dums on their door, but even a bag with a card in it telling people that God loves them is more effective than we can imagine when God wants it to be. There are always going to be up’s and down’s of outreaches…today we got rained on, not very many people answered the door, and we only passed out half of what we wanted to… but in my mind this outreach was still a success. We are not concerned about numbers as much as we are concerned about the hearts of those serving and the hearts of those being served. If one person thinks about Christ’s love for them today due to this reverse trick or treat then it is a success. Furthermore, anytime a group of servers of whatever age go out and serve in Christ’s name I believe that they bond and it makes the church congregation that much closer. We have all heard “a family that prays together stays together” well I think” a church that serves together grows together”. Growth being from a spiritual sense, not in attendance of course.

I appreciate all of you that encourage me after reading this blog and again I can say it enough…this blog is to hopefully inspire people to get involved in what we are doing in Weatherford, or to do it themselves where ever you may be. This is not a blog where I  just want people to read and say hmm thats neat. Let’s be practical and go out and serve and use some of these ideas that are presented… or think up some new ideas. I’m always open for new ideas so if you got some send them to me, I would love that. Here is a list of what is coming up and if you want to get plugged in let me know.

Oct 31: College reverse trick or treat (We are going to pass out the candy we did not pass out today on Halloween night with some students from DBU)

Nov 20: Leaf Raking Outreach (As a church we are going to go rake people’s yards to show them God’s love in a practical way)

Dec 17-19: Gift Wrapping Outreach (Our Women’s group will be at best buy doing an hour or two shifts wrapping people’s gift for free)

Dec 24th : Donut Outreach (We will be passing out the famous Krispy Kreme donuts to people having to work on Christmas Eve)

Let me know if you want to come to one of these. We are very kingdom minded so if you want to serve we will get you plugged in.

– Austin Cooper