COMPILED BY DEANNA GREILING
Feeling stale, tired of the usual church outreach plans? Our friends over at Outreach magazine compiled and published a great list of idea starters in their annual Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America special issue. We will be periodically sharing portions of this list to help you develop new ways of reaching your community.
Here are 16 ideas for late Fall and Winter:
- Give away reusable grocery bags bearing your church’s name and contact information to shoppers at local markets. Encourage donations of non perishable food items to pass along to a local food bank.
- Creatively draw attention to the church building with lights or banners promoting upcoming events. Show the community that your church is a welcoming place. One good source for church banners is Outreach Inc.
- Host a remembrance service. Many churches celebrate All Saints Day on November 1. Mourning with someone who has lost a loved one shows them the church not only recognizes their pain, but offers support and encouragement. During the service, share God’s plan for our future, and how we can move forward living in a way that honors Christ as well as honoring and remembering the loved ones who are gone.
- Ask your members to purposefully introduce themselves to church visitors and share how the church has influenced their faith journey. Supplement this with video testimonials.
- Hold a “pumpkin chuckin’” fundraiser. Let community residents see how far they can throw a pumpkin, and raise money for a good cause in the process.
- Host an old-fashioned family square dance in a barn or a church area decorated with hay bales. End with music and s’mores around (if possible) a bonfire.
- Connect with the community by sending teams of three or four people to deliver invitations to church accompanied by complimentary baked goods or help with yard tasks like raking leaves or cleaning rain gutters.
- Donate items to local shelters and food pantries. Ask your congregation to bring items and place them behind their cars in the parking lot for your team to collect during weekend worship, then deliver the donations.
- Hand out hot chocolate and coffee in frigid weather at mass transit stops. Use cups or sleeves with your church’s name on them.
- Provide snow-day child care for families in a bind when snowy weather cancels school. Connect with and serve working parents by hosting pre-registered students for a free day of VBS-style activities.
- Throw an ice-skating party. Rent an ice rink for a day and offer your community free ice-skating, music, snacks and refreshments.
- During the holiday season, offer free family portraits to residents of local homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation centers and children’s homes for abused and neglected kids.
- Teach kids the value of giving at Christmas. Provide a venue where kids can “shop” for inexpensive or free Christmas gifts to give to their parents or siblings. Work with other groups or businesses to gather donations of gift items. Invite the community to attend. Help children choose gifts while their parents enjoy refreshments in another room.
- Offer rides on New Year’s Eve. Give revelers a safe way home from parties. Notify party venues of your service beforehand and ask them to call or text you when someone needs a ride.
- Rescue drivers stuck in the snow. On heavy snow days, send out teams with four-wheel drive vehicles to pull cars out of drifts or buried in parking spaces. Carry blankets and hot beverages to warm up those you help.
- Offer families coping with a returning injured soldier a week’s worth of meals. Enlist a coordinator to organize a team of “dinner angels.” Ask families about food allergies and any other dietary requirements.
What are your best outreach ideas for reaching into your community? Share it with us and other churches on Facebook!
Outreach magazine shares stories of outreach, helping Christian leadership discover the ideas, innovations and resources that will equip them to advance the kingdom of God through the outreach efforts of the local church – click here to subscribe today!