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Quarters at Carwash

Over the past 2 weekends we have had outreaches during our youth group’s DNow, and a church wide outreach that consisted of teams that washed business’ windows, payed for and washed cars at a self serve car wash, and gave out free bubbles at parks. Here is what we did and some highlights of the outreaches.

1. DNow Outreaches

The last several years we have actually built into our youth group’s DNow schedule a time to go out and serve our city in practical ways. I think this is a fantastic way to either introduce Kindness Outreach to a group or to get students that don’t come to the regular outreaches more familiar with the concept of showing God’s love in a practical way. I know most DNow schedules are already packed; however, we have seen a tremendous benefit in scheduling outreaches. From meet up to finish we schedule in just 1 hour. One of the beautiful things about serving in this way, is that it can be quick, yet still effective. Even on normal church-wide outreaches, we keep actual serve time down to an hour or an hour and a half.

We broke up our youth group into three groups by grade and sent them out. one team passed out free dum dum packs, another team took out trash at an on campus apartment, and finally a team washed toilets of businesses.

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My favorite story from these outreaches comes from a student in our church named Austin. I asked Austin how his outreach went and he said, “it went awesome. I prayed for someone for the first time in my life. It was scary, but it was awesome!” I love the fact that Austin got to experience the power of praying for someone for the first time. We have seen God take those that are timid, those that are scared, and those that are hesitant to step out and slowly mold them into powerful communicators of the Gospel. Sometimes all it takes, is saying that first prayer.

2. Bubble Giveaway

At our church-wide outreach this past Saturday, we had a team take free bubbles (bubble wands work best) to all of the parks in our community. I had never been on this outreach, but it is fantastic! Our team simply went up to parents and told them, “We are going to all of the parks in Weatherford today giving out free bubbles to show God’s love in a practical way.” parents were always ecstatic and would quickly call their kids over and give them the bubble wands we passed out. Many times we were asked who we were, and why we were doing this.

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The who are you guys? question comes up at almost every outreach. We have noticed that if we aim to lift God’s name and kingdom up first and take a step back marketing our own church name, people respond with more interest in who we are, and the convo about our local church and giving people an invite is much more organic. For this reason we don’t blurt out that we are with Greenwood Baptist Church every time we start a convo on an outreach and we don’t have big signs with our logo on it. We do wear Greenwood outreach t-shirts and have outreach cards (the smily face one’s I’m sure you’ve seen) that have our info on the back, but the primary focus is that we are Christ followers that are displaying Jesus’ love in practical ways to a community that desparately needs to see believers and churches loving with no strings attached.

Many people that come to our church from the outreaches claim that they came because we weren’t out to simply just grow our church, but we were  lifting God’s kingdom up before our own. This reminds me of a a promise of Jesus:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

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3. Business Window Washing

Window washing is a staple outreach at our church. We simply take window cleaner and paper towels, send a few people in to the business, and tell the employees that we are washing windows today for free without taking donations. This outreach is great for so many reasons. It’s cheap, effective, fun, and gives those that might be hesitant to talk on outreaches a place to serve, even without speaking. Much like the story i shared about Austin praying for someone for the first time in his life, we have seen God grow and move people out of their comfort zones if we are patient with them, and still give them a place to serve. For those that don’t want to talk just quite yet, i say great, you are still needed, why don’t you just wash today. We have found out, over time, God takes the same people from a place where they almost vomit at the thought of talking or praying with people and moves them to being Gospel presenters at their jobs, schools, and on our outreaches.

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4. Quarters at Car Wash

If you read our last highlight post you are familiar with this outreach. Basically, the idea is to go to a self serve car wash and bring a bunch of quarters so that when people pull in, we are there to pay for them. We tried this outreach out last time and it went great. This time we even added the option of washing their car.

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We were able to connect with the people that let us wash their car on a deeper level. We even prayed for several. This outreach is new to us, but i can tell that it is going to be one that we do all spring and summer. Next time we do this outreach we are going to bring a cooler with drinks to offer to those we are serving! I can’t stress enough to just go out and try ideas you may have. Ready, Fire, Aim. Try outreaches out and then adapt from there. 3 weeks ago this was just an idea. Now, since we just went out and tried it, we are making it better and better each time.

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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!