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winter survival kit

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.

laundry outreach 6 laundry outreach 5 hannah laundryLaundry 2014

#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!

There is something powerful about a group of people that give up time on their holidays to serve others with the love of Christ. When we first started reaching out on holidays we thought we would have a very low participation from our church since many times, holidays are the only dates families get together. However, we have seen the opposite. Families from our church flock to these outreaches and the community responds. We have learned Holidays are a great time to reach out and serve your community. Here is a list of outreaches that have blessed our church and God has used:

1. Superbowl Weekend

All around the nation people gather together to watch the Super Bowl. In fact research tells us that 1/3rd of America watches the Big Game, so we count this as a holiday. Our favorite outreach to do on the day before or the day of the Super Bowl is to go to apartment complexes, duplexes, or neighborhoods where the houses are close together, going door to door giving away free soda and popcorn. We coach our teams to knock on the doors, and when people answer say, “Hey guys we know its Super Bowl weekend, so we are showing Christ’s love in a practical way by giving out free soda and free popcorn, so how many do you need?” Our teams give as many cans and packs of popcorn as there are people at the Super Bowl party. We have also done this outreach simply giving away 2 liters.

We have seen this outreach touch many people. I still remember doing this outreach as a junior high student and seeing a man our team served and prayed for at church the next weekend. A friend of mine, who is a pastor, told me that a lady they reached on a similar outreach came to their church gathering 4 years later, with the empty can of free soda exclaiming how much it connected with her. This same woman ended up Surrendering her life to Christ and became a staff member at the church in which served her in a practical way. IMG_0196

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2. Valentines Day

Valentines Day can be extremely lonely for some people. We like to go around passing out packets with Valentines day candy and an outreach card packed in them to businesses to let people know that God loves and cares for them in a practical way. We usually simply tell people what we are doing, and after we give out the candy packs we ask if we can say a quick 10 second prayer for those we are serving.

One lady that we met on this outreach, who now attends our church, said that she actually threw away the candy due to her diet, but she remembered the kindness and 10 second prayer.

This is a profound statement. Many people are reminded that they are alone on valentines day, but when we step out to love through simple acts of kindness done with no strings attached, even if those we are serving aren’t wanting what we are materially offering, God’s kindness and love moves through us to reach those that are hurting and lonely.

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3. Mothers Day

The Saturday before Mother’s day we take 600 carnations and do a Free Mothers Day Carnation giveaway. We divide different teams to go to different areas of our community to pass these out. We have teams that go to businesses, teams that go to nursing homes and hospitals, teams that go to sporting events and parks, and even teams that go to traffic lights and give flowers to people in their cars when they stop at a red light.

When we started this outreach we focused on women, but we quickly realized than men get as excited receiving a flower to give to their wife or mom as women do. We coach our teams to say “We are serving our community today to show God’s love in a practical way by giving out free carnations, do you want a red or yellow carnation?” We have been shocked by the turn out from our church to serve others on mothers day weekend.

This outreach has quickly become the outreach that the most people within our congregation show up to serve at. We have averaged 80 people on the past two mothers day outreaches. It is easy to cultivate a churches passion to reach women on this weekend and i would suggest if you try any of these outreaches, this be the one you lead your church in. IMG_0243

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4. Halloween

Our favorite outreach to do on Halloween night is a free glow stick/bracelet giveaway. For this outreach you just need to find a neighborhood that is extremely popular for kids and families to go trick or treating in. About 30 minutes before sunset, Take about 6 people per team, Grab a few tables, a couple signs that say Free Glow Sticks, a ton of outreach cards, anywhere from 300-2,000 glow sticks, and get ready to be swamped. Kids and families will start flocking to your Free Glow Stick tables. We buy all of the same color glow sticks (bright yellow) and coach our teams to simply say to families, “Would you like a free glow bracelet or free glow necklace”. We have found out that it is cheaper to just buy all glow bracelets and if they want a necklace we just connect two bracelets together to make a glow necklace.

Parents have come up to our teams during the outreaches and thanked us because when it gets dark, the glow necklaces help them keep track of their kids.

On other outreaches people have asked us if we are the “Free Glow Stick Church”. We have been able to reach 1000’s of people in just 2 hours through this outreach and it has become one of the favorites of our church and a way to identify that we are committed to serving others in simple, yet practical ways. On Halloween Night we actually do 4 or 5 different kinds of outreaches which include reverse trick or treats and free hot dog giveaways, you can read about those outreaches if you click here,

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5. Thanksgiving

Black friday crowds set up perfectly for church’s to reach out in practical ways. The best way to do this is to find a large line, or crowd of people waiting for black friday deals to drop and to bring them free coffee. We have also worked it out with stores to where we are allowed to set up a table where the lines will gather to offer free coffee that way. The best way to do this is to buy Starbucks traveler coffee jugs (see pic below) so you can be mobile. We coach our teams to just say, “We are giving away free coffee tonight, do you want it black or with cream?” If Starbucks is a bit pricey for your budget you can bring your own coffee machines and brew it at the table. Adaptions of this outreaches we have done are free hot chocolate giveaways, free hand warmers, or free winter survival kits with chap stick, cough drops, and facial tissues. We have never done this outreach, but i have heard of some churches that buy turkeys at cost, and take them to low income neighborhoods before thanksgiving so they may still enjoy a thanksgiving meal.

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6. Christmas

Our favorite way to serve our community on Christmas day is to deliver donuts to people having to work, away from their families, on the morning of December 25th. Simply order a bunch of donuts and take boxes to where there are people that are working(hospitals, hotels, restaurants, etc). Tell them that you wanted to remind them that God loves them and thank them for working on a holiday. Drop off the donuts with a connection card that says, ” Just for you just because… We hope this small gift brightens your day, there are no strings attached, we just wanted to let you know  that God loves you” and offer to say a quick 10 second prayer for them.

Our church has done this outreach on Christmas Eve @ 4pm & Christmas day @ 10am for the past 3 years and it has become a favorite among our people. Families use this outreach to teach their kids that Christmas is not about us, but its about Christ and serving others. Furthermore, Businesses have told us that they wait eagerly to receive our donuts and prayers, and that they can always count on us to be there on Christmas Eve and Christmas day! Just like with Halloween, we do multiple different outreaches around the Christmas Holiday which include free gift wrapping and free hot chocolate giveaways, you can read about these outreaches by clicking here.

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Holiday’s such as July 4th, New Years Eve, Memorial Day, and Labor Day all would be worth reaching out on as well. We have stuck to these six holidays mentioned and have had a great time serving our community whether its mothers day, Christmas, or Superbowl Weekend. If you are trying to get a church into the community and serving others to tell and show them about the love of Christ, holidays are a great place to start.

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 3 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!

leaf raking outreach 3 leaf raking outreach

# 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.

winter survival kitwintersurvival

#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! This outreach is great for making deep connections with people since you can sit and talk with them while their laundry is being washed.

We usually bring coloring books for kids and donuts for everyone to make their laundry experience as enjoyable as we can!

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There are a ton of outreaches you can do when it gets cold: pass out hot chocolate, buy everyone’s starbucks as they come in the store, 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!