Archive

Outreach Highlights

1. Easter Candy Giveaway

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This past Easter weekend we had 3 outreaches giving out simple candy packs that included a Reese’s egg, our regular smiley face outreach card, and a small card with an invite to our Easter celebrations. We passed out 2,000 of these bags over the weekend at businesses, apartments, homes, and parks. We made a ton of great connections and we saw a lot of people come to our Worship Celebrations simply because we took the time to serve, talk, pray, and invite those in our community. I could share many stories where God did some amazing things, but this one stand out:

One of our outreach leaders named Hannah led her team to one of our local parks to hand out the candy packs. At the park she met a man named Nolan and his wife Cinda. Nolan and Cinda asked Hannah to take their picture as a family and seemed very receptive to the idea of us giving out Easter candy to show God’s love in a practical way. After taking the picture Nolan asked our team to pray for for his daughter who was homeless, and who they had lost contact with. Nolan explained that they had not even heard from her in some time.

Hannah got to pray for God to heal this situation and after she concluded her prayer, the team went on passing out more candy packs to other people at the park. About 5 minutes passed and our team was about to leave the park when Nolan ran up very excited and told the team that his daughter had just called him for the first time since they lost contact!

A prayer answered.

Nolan and Cinda came to one of our Worship services that next Sunday and Hannah received a text from Cinda following the services that said, “…Thanks for inviting us out! We loved it!”

This story highlights the fact that when we step out and serve others, God uses us as His tool to reveal His Love, His Kindness, and His Power to people that we never knew were hurting or hungry. Sometimes God send us, unknowingly, to a park, an apartment, or a business in order to reach one person or one family He has already been drawing. What we get to do is be apart of God already working on someone’s heart. The crazy part of stories like these, is not that God moves in amazing ways, it’s that God chooses to let us be apart of it!

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2. Young Adult Small Group Trash Takeout

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On Monday night our young adult small group went to on campus apartments and took student’s trash from their apartment to the centralized dumpster. Much like with the story i shared about Nolan and Cinda, God let us meet someone who was in need of a strong touch of kindness and love from believers, and ultimately from Himself.

After taking the trash out for a girl named Kyra, we asked if we could say a quick 10 second prayer. After Kyra said yes, we asked if there was anything specific we could pray for. Kyra’s face light up with half excitement and half sorrow, she said, “YES! my nephew is in the hospital with the flu, but after some testing the doctor’s are taking him to another hospital because they are worried he might have Lukemia.” We immediately prayed that God would comfort the family, guide the doctor’s, and heal Connor, her nephew. Kyra seemed very appreciative, and we moved on.

After we were done, we noticed that Kyra was outside on the steps, smoking a cigarette, and sobbing. We went and talked to her more in depth and found out that Kyra was especially connected with Connor, because after losing her own child during pregnancy, she felt like in many ways Connor took the place of the child she lost. We comforted Kyra even more, and I even got to share my own testimony about my wife and I having a miscarriage. I also got to tell her that even through sorrow, we have been given a gift from God through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and that when we believe in him, there is joy and peace in sorrow. I told her that i take comfort that the child she lost, and the child we lost, are both in heaven because the power of Jesus’ blood. I also shared the Gospel with her and my wife and i have been contacting her off and on about Connor. Connor’s elevated white blood cells seem to be due to a staff infection in his lung and not due to any cancer. Continue to pray for Connor to get better and for comfort for Kyra.

3. $1 Car Wash

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It’s $1 Car Wash Season again!

This is one of our favorite outreaches. The idea is this, we advertise a $1 Car Wash, but when cars pull in we wash their car for free and give them a dollar to remind them that Jesus’ love is free, and it just needs to be received like they are receiving this free gift from us.

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I love the shocked faces after we explain what we are doing, and there were a lot of those faces at our car wash this saturday. In fact we had one of our busiest days at the $1 Car Wash even though it was cloudy and a little chilly. This outreach is a staple in our warm weather months and we will be doing more, so be ready for some encouraging stories.

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4. Bubble Giveaway

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This team went to local parks and gave out free bubble wands to parents who had kids at the park. We got lucky because there was a fishing event at on of the parks we went to and the park was packed. We gave out so many, we had to make a run to Wal-Mart to get more!

This specific outreach has really allowed kids to thrive, and learn how to serve other kids. We had a great group of kids at this outreach and they were all over the place handing out bubble wands and even praying for those they were serving. Kids are a huge asset to outreaches and we love designing outreaches in ways that we know kids will thrive.

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5. Free Drinks at Garage Sales

This team went to garage sales in our area with free Dr. Pepper and water. We first would offer the drinks to the people running the garage sale, then to the people at the garage sale. We also would leave drinks and our outreach cards with the people running the garage sale so they could give them out to their customers.

One couple that we met and connected with was selling all of the belongings of their parents, who had recently passed away. They were very receptive to the drinks and we prayed with them that God would heal their pain and comfort them during their loss. Again God knows where He is sending us, and these intentional acts of kindness are not random in any way. I hope these stories and highlights convince you of that fact. We don’t serve a God that is random, but is meticulous in drawing Not-yet belivers to Jesus.

This past week we had a Church Wide Outreach where we sent out 3 different teams to serve our community in practical ways. We had a leaf raking team, a free starbucks team, and a team that went to a self serve car wash and payed for every car that came in. Earlier in the week, we had our young adult small group do a free Starbucks and free laundry day outreach. God impacted many people through these outreaches. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Young Adult Small Group Outreaches

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Our young adult small group has committed to doing an outreach together once a month. This past monday we sent out two teams of 4 to show God’s love in practical ways. 1 team went to Starbucks with a $200 gift card and payed for everyone’s coffee that came in for an hour! Our other team went to a local laundromat with rolls of quarters and when people came in we would say, “It’s free laundry day!” and tell those we were serving we were doing this to display the love of Christ in a practical way. We also brought coloring books for the kids and bought soda’s/waters for the customers that beat us there.

The most powerful aspect of the laundry outreach is that when we serve in God’s name, people open up to you, often about spiritual things. Since they are there doing laundry for hours sometimes, we are often able to connect with people on a very deep level. One of our team members named Jordan met a sweet couple and started getting to know them. They opened up to her that they were new to town and looking for a church. They expressed that they moved from their hometown to get away from the grief of their 17 year old son passing away last year. Jordan got to connect, minister, encourage this couple and I was able to pray over them outside in the parking lot before they left. It was very humbling for God to use us to encourage this sweet family. Pray they will connect with a local church, even if it is not ours.

2. Quarters at Self Serve Car wash

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This was the first time we ever tried this outreach and it went great! We simply, much like the free laundry outreach, took a bunch of quarters to a self serve car wash, and when people pulled up, we told them that it was free car wash day today. Our team would feed the meter and keep the car wash going until the owners could finish washing their car. Our team leaders said that people were super surprised and even wanted to talk and connect with our outreach teams. Due to this fact, we are planning on not only paying for the car wash, but also washing the cars next time. We of course would give the owners that option. Anytime we can set up outreaches that we can connect with people on a deeper level, we will do it!

Many times when we are coaching other churches to start outreaches, they want to know how everything will play out before they jump in. I will tell you, if that is what you are waiting for, you will never be effective in reaching your community. We have a very Ready, Fire, Aim mentality. This outreach is a great example of just this. We had an idea, tried it out, and will adapt it next time.

Ready, Fire, Aim. Be careful NOT to Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim….

3. Leaf Raking Outreach

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With Spring coming, this was the last leaf raking outreach of the season. Our team raked 1 yard, and raked up a ton of bags! It turns out that the woman that they served, had her yard raked by our church last year. We didn’t purposely rake this yard twice, but we have noticed that serving the same people on a consistent basis is an effective tool to let the community know that we are serious about showing God’s love in practical ways. We want to frequent the same areas to show our commitment and to connect with those we have previously served on a deeper level.

One manager of a local pizza joint has had his windows washed 5 or 6 times by us over the years. He came up to me last week and said, “There are a lot of churches that talk, talk, talk, but you guys actually show!”

We want, if anything, for our community to miss us if we were gone. That might be a good measuring stick on how effective you are being in serving others in practical ways. Would anyone notice if your church dissapeared?

4. Free Starbucks Outreach

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At our church wide outreach, we had a team go to the same Starbucks we went to with our young adult small group and pay for everyone that came in for an hour. The best way to do this is to put around $200 to $300 on a gift card, find a table to sit at, and tell the Starbucks employee that when people order, tell them that the people at “That” table payed for your coffee today. People naturally will come over and ask who you are. We like to sit outside and when people come out, we say, “Did you get your free coffee?”

In the past, employees have sometimes been a bit hesitant to do this for us; however, over time, with us proving ourselves that there truly are not strings attached, they have gone from being hesitant to ecstatic when we come in to do this outreach. In fact this time, i went in to tell the employees thank you for letting us do this, and they said that they love when we come in, and that when we pay or everyone’s Starbucks, their tips increase tremendously.

God’s kindness is contagious!

In the past few weeks we have had a Church wide outreach on valentines day, a small group take out trash at a local apartment, and our Haiti mission team pass out soda’s and popcorn the day before the Super Bowl. Here is an outline of what we did and some highlights of each outreach.

1. Superbowl Outreach

Something we have done with our Haiti mission teams for the past few years is have the team serve together on a kindness outreach before actually leaving on our trip. We have noticed that the team bonds serving together and expedites the time it takes for a mission team to gel.  If you lead mission teams this is something you should consider.

The day before the Super Bowl our team passed out free popcorn and Dr. peppers door to door at an on campus college apartment. Every time we can, we ask the people we are serving if we can say a quick 10 second prayer, and then ask for specifics. A lot of times the 10 second prayer takes the initial touch of Kindness to a much deeper level. On this outreach we were able to pray for grades, baseball teams, injuries and broken families.

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2. Trash Takeout

Small groups play a huge part in our church’s outreach DNA. We ask that our small groups do a kindness outreach on a frequent basis. This past week our young adult small group went to the same on campus apartment mentioned before to take out trash from the student’s apartments to the centralized dumpster and pray 10 second prayers. We like to frequent serving the same places so they know were are committed to loving them in a way Jesus would, rather than saying “Hey we served here, check them off the list”

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The day after this small group did this outreach we got this exciting and encouraging message:

Hi, I’m a student here at Weatherford College. You guys came by yesterday and prayed for my Roomate and I. And to be really honestly with you something feels different today. I have been going threw a lot with my parents and with school and after that prayer I felt like I wanted to start new again. Start going to church and start being a better person. I wanted to say thank you so much. And hopefully I’ll be seeing you Sunday.

This message highlights the power of praying for those we are serving after the initial touch of kindness.

3. Valentines Day Outreach

On Valentines day we held a church wide outreach where we sent out teams to pass out free valentines day candy with a connection card. Our teams went to parks, businesses, and nursing homes. We passed out nearly 700 packs in just and hour and a half!

A highlight of this outreach came when two girls in our youth group went to a park to pass out the candy packs. Here is their story:

Regan and I were handing out candy at Cartwright Park and we were surprised that no one was there. The only people that were there were all in meeting.  There was a woman off to the side of the meeting watching two children. She and I were debating on whether or not to approach her or if we should just continue on with outreaching to a fuller park. She asked me what I wanted to do and I replied with a casual “I dont know” and started to walk to the woman without really realizing it. Regan followed. We got to the woman, and after reading the card, she looked like she was going to tear up and just said “God truly is good.” She proceeded to tell us that she was a godly woman, but her brother had strayed away from God.  She said she knew God was at work and we just further proved it. We prayed for her, her brother, and her two daughters, and left amazed in God and how He used us. We couldn’t believe we almost left 

From this experience we learned an important element to us reaching out to our community. Although primarily we are reaching out to draw not-yet believers to Christ, God uses our team to encourage other believers to reach out to their friends and family that might not know Christ. It is a blessing to encourage other believers to reach out. I truly believe we won’t know the total effectiveness of reaching out with no strings attached until we get to heaven. God is a God that is not random, and we believe He has a plan for everyone of the people we serve on each of our outreaches.

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This past saturday we had around 30 people divide into 3 teams that went out to serve our community in practical ways. We had a free leaf raking team, a team that provided a local laundry mat with a free laundry day, and a team that gave out blankets to nursing homes. Here is a brief summary of what we did and some highlights of each outreach:

1. Blanket Giveaway at Nursing home

This team took 100 blankets that we either purchased at Wal-Mart or had donated to local nursing homes and gave them out. One of our leaders noticed on a previous nursing home outreach that many of the people living there did not have their own blankets, so we thought this would be a fun and practical way to show Christ’s love. We went door to door giving out the blankets and saying prayers for those we were serving.

Our team met a sweet lady who was turning 98 and we were able to give her a blanket as a birthday gift.  Our team said this lady was deeply moved that we were showing God’s love in such a practical way, and it just happened to be on her 98th birthday!

When we love on our local nursing homes we always notice that God is also using us to impact the employees that devote their life to this type of service. We have been able to develop relationships, encourage, and pray for the employees of the nursing homes as we have committed to serving there on a consistent basis.

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2. Leaf Raking

Usually on this outreach we just show up to a neighborhood that has a bunch of leaves and go door to door telling people that we are leaf raking front yards for free to display the love of God in a practical way and knock out 5 or 6 houses in an hour and a half. However, this Saturday we went to the house of an elderly woman who’s daughter goes to our church so we could bless her by raking her leaves. Our team worked tirelessly and when the hour and half that we planned on serving was gone, they had raked more than 50 bags and made the front, side, and back yard look great.

I was a little worried because i thought our team was going to be frustrated that they only got to one yard, but after the outreach, they were all very excited and saw the purpose in taking the entire time to serve someone’s mom within our church who needed it. A large part of reaching the community that is around us is to show them that we love, serve, and take care of our own. We do enough leaf raking outreaches throughout the year that taking this weekend to serve in this way was well worth it.

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3. Free Laundry Day

Our Free Laundry team went to a local laundry mat with $200 in quarters, donuts, and coloring books to bring some fun to a very mundane task. We simply tell everyone in the laundry mat that we are providing a free laundry day to show Jesus’ love in a practical way.

The best part of this outreach is the time you get to spend with people while they do their laundry. Our teams are able to make connections, get in deep conversations, and many times share the Gospel in a very organic way. 

On this Saturday I was on the free laundry team and I was able to meet and connect with a man named Jason. We talked about our families, his job, and our struggles. I felt the Lord prompt me to share the Gospel with Jason after some time talking with him. Kindness Outreach provides a great Segway into the Gospel since we tell everyone we are there to love, serve, and give a free gift with no strings attached. Among other things I explained to Jason that just like the quarters were our free gift to him, God’s free gift of salvation is through Christ and just like he accepted the free laundry day we were providing, all God requires of us is to accept His Son Jesus and to surrender our lives to following him. Jason kept saying, “I know God sent you here to talk to me today” (this is very common on our outreaches by the way). Jason told me that He received Christ 5 years ago, but since then he has strayed away and gotten into some things that has hurt his family, his job, and his faith. I was able to encourage Jason that we serve a God that is abundant in mercy and shared with him the story of the Prodigal Son. I told him that God is waiting for him with open arms and He will show him nothing, but kindness when Jason returns rather than requiring him to do religious acts to get back on His good side. God used this to impact this man deeply. We exchanged phone numbers and he told me that he did not have a church and he was going to come to ours either Sunday or Wednesday. Pray for Jason.

We serve a God that is not random and i know God had me there specifically for Jason. Many people from our church have felt this same way when they connect with individuals in our community during outreaches. God does the hard part, we are simply called to be obedient and to go out and serve!

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I will continue to post outlines and highlights after each of our outreaches. I hope they will encourage you to start living an outwardly focused life and give you some simple tools to use as a church and as individuals. Please contact me if i can assist in any way.