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Trash Takeout

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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Last post I wrote about how when our Church chooses to serve our community, God grows and bonds us together in a way few other activities can (you can read that post here). Again, we like to say a church that serves together, grows together. Now, we have observed on our outreaches that 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.

Jesus commenting on the power that we have when we love each other says: 

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

Now, I have been to many outreach conferences and missions meetings where this verse is always used to prove that Not-yet believers will know we are disciples of Jesus by the love we show our lost communities. However, even though other scriptures support this view completely, in context what Jesus is saying in John 13:35 is completely different. 

You see Jesus is speaking to his DISCIPLES when He says this. So what Jesus is really saying is that our Not-yet believing friends in our community will see the way the CHURCH loves one another within the body of believers, and this will be an overwhelming proof that we are Jesus’ disciples, which becomes a powerful attracting agent for God to draw not-yet believers to Jesus. 1 of the 2 primary ways the early Church became so effective in reaching their communities was simply because they took care of each other, and let the love they showed one another spill out upon “outsiders” who took notice. 

Acts 2:44-47 

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

We have experienced that when we start reaching out in practical ways to show God’s love to our community, that people take notice that there is something different about us. We are doing simple acts of service that are not inherently enjoyable, yet we have smiles on our faces, we are encouraging each other, we have a spirit of unity and joy, and people notice that. Now if we went up to wash the windows of a business and we were all screaming at each other saying,”you washed the windows LAST time, it’s MY turn, you always do this to me! You are being Selfish!” people would want nothing to do with us. However, when people see our love for one another even within our  own outreach teams, people know we are disciples of Jesus, and are drawn closer to Him.

To support this I will give an example. One of the Kindness Outreaches we love doing is going to apartments that have a centralized dumpster and simply offering to take people’s trash from their apartment to the dumpster. A place we frequently send teams is the on campus apartments that are at our local college. This is where we met a student named Cordell. We told Cordell what we were doing and he seemed pretty shocked. He gave us his trash, we prayed a quick 10 second prayer for him, gave him our outreach card, and went on our way. Cordell started coming to our college ministry and within a few weeks he surrendered his life to Christ. I was doing some follow up with him and I asked, what was it that attracted you to come to our Church. Now, when i ask this most of the time people respond, “The Kindness you showed me with no strings attached compelled me to check out your church” however, this times Cordell responded in a different way. He said:

“You know Austin the love you showed me was cool, but I was sitting in my apartment playing video games, doing what i wanted to do. You guys were picking up nasty, dirty trash for students and when I looked at you, I knew that you were having more fun picking up TRASH then i was, doing what i wanted to do. I realized that your group had something I didn’t and I knew that i wanted to be apart of your group.”

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What Cordell was communicating to me, even if he did not know it at the time, was that when he looked at our unity and fellowship, he saw the power and love of Jesus, and knew in his heart he did not have what we had.

We baptized a lady about a month ago who surrendered her life to Christ at one of our Sunday gatherings who literally said the exact same thing that Cordell did.

Due to the fact that most congregations do everything within the walls of their church buildings, i think communities have not seen the love we have for one another displayed in a public forum. This is why living an outward focused life as individuals and corporately as churches is becoming so important. Satan has done a great job selling the lie that if you are a Christ follower you are boring, stingy, and hateful. Nothing pushes back the darkness of this lie more than a group of Christ followers that let the ferocious love they have for one another spill out into the community through doing simple acts of Kindness done with no strings attached. This my friends is not another Outreach Program, but an open handed, Spirit led, people centered ministry that shouts we are Christ followers!… and testifies to the community that the joy that is in our hearts is due to the fact that we are well loved by a gracious Savior and other believers!

Get out there, enjoy yourself, smile, and serve. It will change the world.

“Small things done with great Love will change the world.” – Mother Teresa  

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.