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Introverted Evangelism

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.

One of the biggest lies Satan tells us is that we are not qualified to reach out. This lie seems to be prevalent among introverts. When people who would identify more with introverted characteristics think of evangelism, they mainly think of people who have characteristics of an extrovert. This lie permeates in their mind, and it is easy for introverts to say, “Outreach/evangelism is just not for me….that is for extraverted people who like that kind of stuff” This; however, can not be further from the truth and church leaders need to start designing outreaches so that introverts and extroverts can equally thrive in evangelism.

Let’s start with this: Evangelism is a very scary word! In fact 90% of Christians dislike the word evangelism. This i believe is because we have the wrong view and definition of what Evangelism is. We think of Evangelism as either a preacher traveling around spitting out Fire and Brimstone to a congregation or we think of the crazies that stand on street corners and yell at people to get saved. I like to define Evangelism as this:

Evangelism = Anything that you say and do that draws not yet believers to Christ

Lets remember that Jesus told us that No one can come to Him, except those who God draws (john 6:44). This automatically takes the responsibility off of us and on God to draw people to Christ. However, with that said, God uses us as tools to reach people with the Gospel and no one is exempt from that calling. Now we can understand it is not us who saves people, but it is God who uses us in evangelism (anything that is said and done that draws not yet believers to Christ) to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

Keeping this in mind and having a revamped definition of what evangelism is, it opens the door for everyone to have endless opportunities and ideas for us to reach out and evangelize our community. We believe that through serving people with no strings attached just to let them know that God loves them is an extremely effective way for God to use us to draw people to Christ. Furthermore the idea of serving speaks to and motivates introverts. The same study that found that 90% of Christians disliked the word evangelism found that 90% of Christians like the word and idea of serving. So lets combine the two!

What i mean by this, is that you should design outreaches where there are those on your team who serve without speaking, and those on your team who are up front, telling people that you are serving them with no strings attached because that is what Jesus would do today. For instance when we go to businesses to wash windows only a few people out of a team of 10-15 will go and tell the business owners that we are washing windows to display God’s love in a practical way with no strings attached. When the store agrees to let us wash their widows, the entire team gets washing and when finished the same few people go in and give the person they spoke with an outreach card and offer to say a quick 10 second prayer with them. Everyone else on the team played an important part in allowing the “few” to speak and pray with people by simply washing the windows of the business.

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This is something that we have found introverts identify with and thrive in: Evangelizing and reaching out through serving!

The pictures below of a free leaf raking team are a great example of this. Notice that everyone is simply serving by leaf raking, while one person took the time to speak, reach out, and pray with the homeowner of the yard that the team was leaf raking.

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The truth is that God wants and can use anyone no matter who they are, what their age is, or if they identify as an introvert or extrovert. In fact we have seen God grow people from almost vomiting at the idea of sharing Christ with others into being bold Gospel presenters that I trust to share Christ with anyone in any situation. Don’t push your introverts too fast. Give them a towel and some window cleaner, or a rake and some bags and let them know they are a valuable tool that God can use even if they are not speaking or praying with people. I will guarantee you they will grow in their boldness through serving others!

Next week i will write about which outreaches are best for introverts to serve on.

One of the greatest joys that I receive when we step out as a church to serve the community is when children are involved. We have been participating in various outreaches for about 9 months now and it always is exciting to see kids getting involved in outreach and being effective for the kingdom of God. Whether it is a specific outreach we do with kids or whether the kids are brought by their parents, the truth is if we have kids on our outreach team we as adults are blessed to have them and more so the people that are being served by these little ones are greatly touched.

Recently we have had great turn outs from our youth and our children in our outreaches. Whether it is the 3 year old that helped us wash car’s for free, the 7 year old that came with us door to door asking people if we could rake their yards in order to show them God’s love in a practical way, or the 8 year old that just serves with a big smile on their face we have been greatly blessed by kids getting excited about reaching others. We took a group of 5th and 6th graders to pass out Dr. peppers around Weatherford in order to show God’s love in a practical way recently and I have never seen an outreach group more excited to go reach people than these kids were. One of the kid’s fathers came up to me and said that his son still talks about how exciting that outreach was for him and constantly wants to know when he can do it again.

I must mention Colby, a 7 year old, who just this last week while we were going business to business washing front door windows deemed himself as the leader of our outreach team. At first I attempted to humble him by saying we are all leaders, but as time went on it was evident that God was using Colby to lead our excitement level about reaching people. We allowed Colby to go up to the store owners and explain that we were trying to show God’s love in a practical way by washing their windows. The store owners more often than not would be shocked and tell us to go for it. Colby would literally sprint from talking to the store manager or owner to go grab some glass cleaner and a paper towel to start washing the windows. After our team was  done making the windows look spotless we would let Colby go and bring the store owners our outreach card that just tells them that we hope this small service brightens their day and that we just wanted to let them know God loves them. The faces of the store managers were priceless as Colby, a 7 year old, was so passionate to reach them with the love of Christ. Colby became a hero that day during our outreach.

The fact is that Christ is the true hero when we reach out to others because if it was not for him we would fail in every attempt to reach out to people; however, Christ makes children and adults alike into heroes during outreach and this is a truth that I have been able to see first hand, especially this last Saturday (Everyone did a fantastic job and it was a lot of fun). I am very excited about the culture of serving that our adults are instilling into our children and vice-versa. I have seen God use children to further his kingdom and there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that has served with children that are excited about reaching people that God can, will, and is using them to further his kingdom.

– Austin Cooper