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Intersection of Life and Faith

Serve Your Community

  • 2001 12 Nov
Serve Your Community
When you first launch the idea of servant evangelism, the primary goal is to have a successful experience for your group. You want your group members to come back from their time together with a gung-ho attitude and to say, "We had a great time. Let's do this again - soon!" You want participants to enjoy themselves so much they'll not only come back the next time you do an outreach project, they'll also want to bring their friends.

1. Totally Free Car Wash
If you're just starting out with servant evangelism and the weather permits, this is a good place to begin. Though not a high-volume project, it's a great starting place for seeing the power of kindness touch the human heart.

A car wash costs essentially nothing to do. There is something for everyone here, including children. Get plenty of signs. Find a good location with a lot of cars driving past. Put some enthusiastic cheerleaders out on the street with your signs, and go for it. Don't forget to have a designated evangelist who explains to the recipients what is going on.

2. Soft Drink Giveaway
If you want to do a little more investing in product and to touch a larger group, this is probably the way to go. Set up at a stop light. The police probably won't mind your outreach as long as you're mindful of the flow of traffic when the light changes.

Try to give away at least two hundred drinks on your first outing, even if you are in a small group. You'll be surprised how fast that many drinks will go. Get plenty of cards printed. What you don't use the first time out, you can use later.

3. Christmas Gift-wrapping
If you've gotten your feet wet doing a project or two and you want to step out a bit further for Christmas, gift-wrapping is wonderful. You will attract a lot of attention among shoppers. Be ready for a possible onslaught of business. Be careful what you promise to the store management on your first time out with this. If the total workforce is your one small group, I suggest you sign up for just one weekend before Christmas.

We've found that malls are also open to the idea of gift-wrapping at Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and other gift-buying holidays.

4. Leaf Raking
As the saying goes, there's safety in numbers. When it comes to serving, this is a slam dunk. Find the yards in your part of town that have a lot of leaves, and go for it. Just make sure you have enough rakers on your team so that no one gets worn out.

5. Business Blast
If you're coming up on [a holiday] ... pick up candy or flowers and serve the servants [employees of businesses in town who usually serve others on holidays]. You may be surprised how open-hearted they are when the tables are turned and you're on the giving end.

6. Newspaper Giveaway
Your mother always said, "Don't play in traffic." She was partly right. Just don't go into traffic with your newspapers when the light is green. Set up on a busy corner and give away your papers at the red light.

7. Birthday Party Organizing at a Nursing Home
There are few places where your kindness will be more appreciated than the local nursing home. For many, this gesture will be the first time they've been remembered in years. Know that in touching the one you focus on, you are not reaching out only to the one resident, but to the extended family, who will surely hear about your act of kindness.

8. Grocery Bag Packing
Most people need their groceries bagged. Find one of the big discount grocers and approach the manager with your idea. This is a great project because it can be done any day of the year, regardless of weather conditions.

9. Giveaways
Once you've explained to a store manager your vision for serving the city and gotten in his good graces, you have a powerful outreach location for the future.

Situate yourselves at the entrance, not the exit, of the store. On the way out of the store, customers are in a hurry to get out to their cars. They won't take what you have, and your servant team members will feel rejected.

10. Twenty-dollar Outreach Experiment
For a little investment of money, your group will learn a lot with this project [in which each person invests $20 on some type of outreach project, then reports back to the group about it]. This is a great way to jumpstart your group into the ministry of servant evangelism. If your people are a little shy, team up in groups of two or three. The ideas don't have to be completely original. ... Don't forget to celebrate the projects that are the most daring, most creative, touched the most people, and so on.

Excerpted from 101 Ways to Reach Your Community, copyright 2001 by Steve Sjogren. Used by permission of NavPress, Colorado Springs, Colo., All rights reserved. For copies of the book, call 1-800-366-7788.

Steve Sjogren has been involved in church planting in Oslo, Norway, and Baltimore, Maryland, and is the founding pastor of Vineyard Community Church in Ohio.

How have you effectively served your community? How did the experience bless you as well as those you served? What suggestions for outreach projects would you like to pass along to others? Visit Live It's forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.