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red box outreach

With the changing of the seasons you have to be willing to adapt your kindness outreaches. It would be silly of course to continue to do your summer outreaches in the winter. Can you imagine a free car wash in 30 degree weather? The warmth of Spring and Summer allows many creative outreaches to be done; however the chill of fall and winter bring opportunities to reach out to people in different ways as well. Here are 5 great cold weather outreaches:

#1 Free Leaf Raking

Leaf raking can be very burdensome when you are doing it all alone. When we do it as a group and do it for other people it becomes a blast. Kids, teenagers, and adults can all work together at this outreach. Simply grab some rakes, gloves, and trashbags and go to a neighborhood with a lot of leaves. Tell the homeowners you are raking the leaves of the entire neighborhood just to show God’s love in a practical way! Make sure you mention it is free and you are not taking donations. Spend time talking to the homeowner and after you are done ask to pray a quick 10 second prayer for them!

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# 2 Winter Survival Kit Giveaway

I remember never being prepared for winter. When my lips became chapped, i developed a cough, and my nose was running like a raging river, i was left to fend for myself or use whatever i had laying around the house (wiping your nose over and over again with paper towels hurt!) This outreach gives people tools to be prepared for the cold! It also shows that you, as a Christian, truly care for the people you are serving in a simple and practical way. 

These Winter Survival kits consist of 1 snack sized bag, several cough drops, facial tissue, chap stick, and a connection card (See Below). They cost around $1 to put together and are a great way to love your community in truly a practical way. Try passing them out at college apartments/dorms, downtown areas, businesses, and low income housing. We have had many people tell us they use the kits when they become sick! We met The family in the pic below on one of these outreaches and they started attending our church almost every week before they recently moved.

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#3 Free Laundry Day

On this kindness outreach you get to be out of the cold weather and inside a warm laundry mat! Have a team of about 5-8 people go to a local laundry mat with rolls of quarters and tell people as they walk in that you are showing them that Jesus loves them today by paying for everyone’s laundry that comes in! We usually bring coloring books for kids and donuts for everyone to make their laundry experience as enjoyable as we can! This outreach is great for making deep connections with people since you can sit and talk with them while their laundry is being washed. Many of times our teams are able to share the Gospel in depthly and organically with those they are serving.

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#4 Free Coffee at Starbucks

The cold weather draws coffee lovers to Starbucks like nothing else. One of our favorite outreaches to do is to send a team to Starbucks or a local coffee shop, buy a gift card with usually around $200 on it, and give it to the employee at the cash register so when people order, they can tell them that their coffee has been payed for. We usually either sit at a visible table inside or the tables right outside the door. We ask the employees to simply point to our table and say, “The people at the table over there paid for your coffee today.” Excited customers instinctively come over to thank us and ask why we are paying for everyone’s coffee. This is a great time to give them your outreach card and tell them that you are displaying the free love of Jesus in a practical way today by buying coffee for everyone. 

We have noticed over time, the employees of Starbucks really get excited when we do this outreach. In fact some employees even ask us if they can tell customers why we are buying everyone’s coffee, give out our outreach cards, and tell them what church we are with! We love to let them do this so they can experience the life changing power of advancing God’s kingdom through tangible, practical kindness.

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# 5 Free Red Box Codes

For this outreach you will need popcorn packets, glue dots, connection cards, and free red box promo codes. You can purchase red box promo codes, which gives this you are serving one free night when they rent a movie from a red box, at redbox.com. We simply glue dot a connection card and a promo code on the front of a popcorn packet and give them out to businesses, college apartments/dorms, apartment complexes, community events, even at red box machines.

We usually use the cold temperature to our advantage by telling people “Hey we know its cold, so we wanted to provide you with a free movie night on us, to show you God’s love in a practical way.”

One man who recently came to know the Lord at our church told me that when he was in his “I hate God” stage of his life, receiving a free red box from someone that was serving him with no strings attached would have touched him deeply on a spiritual level and drawn him to closer to Christ. I think this highlights a truth that it does matter what specifically we give out, or how we practically serve people. What matters is to allow others to experience God’s tangible kindness through Christ followers that are sold out to advancing the kingdom by serving the community.

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There are a ton of outreaches you can do when it gets cold: pass out hot chocolate, serve a local nursing home, shovel snow off people’s drive and walk ways, take people’s trash out at apartments, etc. God always moves in people when they step out and serve others in His name. We have found when the weather is dicey and people do not expect us to be out serving, God uses the unexpected service to draw people to Jesus!

Ever since I started studying outreach ideas, specifically servant evangelism I have always thought a Red Box was an excellent place to reach people. The main problem with using a red box as an outreach point is that it is usually inside and owned by a company that will hesitate to allow you to do an outreach there. However I have learned that if God wants you to do it he will prepare and pave the way for you. He did just that. Me and one of my friends at the church were allowed to set up a small table right by an outside Red Box. At the booth we had free Diet and Regular Dr. Pepper, water, as well as popcorn. Who does not want a soda and some popcorn to go along with their movie?

As people walked up to order their movie we would ask them if they wanted diet or regular. They would usually say what is this for (thinking we were asking for donations) and we would reply ” We just are trying to show God’s love in a practical way” and that we will in no way accept donations. One lady opened her wallet and try to pay for some Dr. Pepper and we said no its fee and she said well do you take donations? After explaining that we were just their to serve people and to show God’s love in a practical way she said, ” Hmm how odd.” and walked off…I don’t even remember if she took a drink or any popcorn.

There were two stories that highlighted the evening: One man took a Dr. Pepper and our card that says why we do this and he got a little quiet and told us that he had been growing a lot closer to God in the past week due to his wife’s car wreck. I asked him what her name was and how she was doing and he told me her name and said that she is fine now, but it scared him. I asked him if I could pray for her and he looked a little shocked and simply told me that, that would be great if I would. I did not pray for him right there, maybe I should have, but he seemed to know that we would pray for him through out our week. He told me he needs to get back in church and I invited him to my home church, but assured him that we are not doing this to pull people away from their church, but we truly just want to serve people. He thanked us and got in his car with is wife and waved good-bye as he pulled out of the parking lot.

My partner at the booth got to serve a lady a Dr. Pepper and even got to have a really good conversation with her. This lady seemed very distraught and I do not know the contents of their conversation since it was between two women, but Eva (the girl working the booth with me) mentioned that she had gone through some divorces and had some tattoos that represented that. Eva talked with her and asked if she could pray for her and the lady agreed to let her do that. Like I said I am not sure what the full conversation was about, but I know that a simple Dr. Pepper led to Eva being able to pray for someone who needed it.

If you are planning to do this there are a few things to know. Some people were not willing to receive a free drink or popcorn because i think they still thought there was a catch…i forgot our no donations accepted sign and had no free drink sign so it was all us having to ask people if they wanted a free drink which sounds similar to what other people do when they want donations. Always bring a sign that says what you are giving away and always bring a no donations accepted sign. So that was a downside to this outreach, but for the many people that took a drink or a popcorn I am sure that they recieved a bit of God’s love at a Red Box…. showing God’s love at a Red Box, who would have ever thought that would be possible.