Today’s pondering is a slight deviation from the normal format…sorry.
With that said, however, I would like to offer some realistic evangelistic outreach ideas that could (emphasis on could) revitalize your corps’ ministry. Please recognize that these are merely suggestions and they may not all work in your specific location. It should also be noted that true evangelism must be a passion that your corps has before you can actually go out and reach into your neighborhoods and communities. Also, as far as I know, some of the best forms of evangelism happens on an individual basis not so much the “event” oriented methods. With that having been said, don’t simply replace your individual/personal evangelistic attempts with these suggestions. The idea today is to provide you with some unique and creative means of sharing the gospel with your community…so here goes.
1. Prayer Walks
This evangelistic idea is probably the least invasive idea for evangelism and involves your current soldiers and adherents. This notion literally is what it says…go out and walk your community and pray for specific people as you go. These prayer walks are generally done in pairs or “prayer teams”. Walk the streets around your corps. See specific homes and families and pray for those homes and families as you walk by. This type of personal evangelism allows your corps members to truly SEE the people living around your corps and community.
Before starting, make a plan. Don’t just go out. Instruct your corps members how this should be done. There are numerous resources online for this type of evangelism. Help them catch the vision and then ask them for a commitment to walk and pray. Assign, if needed specific times for these prayer partners to walk. Perhaps it can be done during the lunch hour once a week, or after work for just an hour. Never underestimate the power of prayer! Mighty things can and will come if we would just cover our community in fervent prayer.
2. Family Movie Nights
Understandably you might run into copyright issues with this one, so be careful! Creating family times together can be very rewarding for your corps. I know of some corps who started a Wii bowling league a few years ago and people thoroughly enjoyed that type of event. Casual events where we aren’t trying to “sell” Christianity but rather allow our Christian relationship be seen tends to make new comers more at ease. Sometimes I think we try too hard to impress the guest that we come off as phony or a group with ulterior motives. Pick movies that are kid friendly and not overly saturated Christian films.
3. Block Party
The block party idea has been around for years…so it’s not a new one, but with some fresh paint it can be a healthy way to get to know families in your neighborhood. These events can lead to some wonderful connections while over the barbecue grill or around picnic tables. Plan it wise, make sure you have plenty of time to send out invitations and remember to engage and enjoy this family fun event!
4. Art Show
Bring some culture into your corps buildings or local park venues by hosting an Art Show. These art shows could be individuals from your corps, a local college or high school in your area or even elementary school age children. Parents will want to come out and support their children along with the rest of the family. Plan to meet people at the door, welcome them, prepare of invitations to worship, and provide an atmosphere of welcoming and family friendliness.
5. Parents Night Out
If you have been or are currently a parent you will understand the necessity to just get away from the crew for a while. We all need to unplug, unwind and go out with our spouses for a date that doesn’t include highchairs and making huge messes in public (been there have the stains to prove it). Set up a babysitting event in your corps where corps members will come and host a kids friendly event while Mom and Dad enjoy a night out. Understandably ensure contact numbers are exchanged and parents understand that the event is NOT A SLEEPOVER for their children. Set the hours, assign the volunteers and staff for child care and invite the parents out. This could be a wonderful followup after a block party or another event listed here.
6. Mom’s Night Out
There are many single parents out there, including many in our corps. Host a similar event to the one above for the purpose of Moms (as well as single Dads) to enjoy some time away without having to worry about their children. If you host this sort of part for single parents in your community, you might be surprised at the response you will get. Again, it does depend on the community that you live in.
7. Free Finance Classes or other free educational offerings
One of the biggest challenge in marriage and life in general is how to manage your money. Create a six week (or less) “how to manage your money” workshop to help families learn about personal finances. Make it fun, because 9 times out of 10 these workshops can become boring and labor intensive. Get the word out, this could be an opportunity to help a parent, family or individual struggling right now with this physical need.
8. Specific Need Based Ministry for Your Community
Do some research. Ask hard questions. Study your community and discover what needs people around your community currently without. Can you meet these needs? Do you have the resources or personnel to help assist you? Is this a short-term or long-term “need-based” ministry? Perhaps you have a lot of single teen moms in your community that have no where to go to connect with other single teen moms. Perhaps there’s an educational need like a GED program for graduate certificate curriculum you could offer. Find what’s missing in your community and try to fill that gap and meet that specific need!
9. New Born Gift Ministry
Perhaps you have elderly men and women in your corps and they feel that they can no longer contribute or be useful anymore. Here is an opportunity to engage an elderly crowd. Have them make blankets for newborns at the local Natal/Maternity wards at the hospital. Make little stockings or a simple “New Mom’s” care package with thoughtful gifts and cards of encouragement in them. Make it a clear ministry that involves praying for the new moms and dads. Some new parents may not have thought of church before or currently have family to encouragement them.
10. A Community Day of Caring (I’ll Fight Day)
This is an up and coming event each year in December here in the United States…but it could be done any time during the calendar year. Get out with your corps people and help neighbors by cleaning their homes, raking leaves, help elderly people with groceries and many other community caring events. Be strategic. Plan and inform the neighborhood of your caring event. Take time to show the community how much you care for them through works of kindness and charity. Be mindful that not everyone will be receptive to your acts of kindness, but think of the seeds you might plant when getting out of the corps building and into the community to offer such acts of love?!
These are just ten evangelistic ideas to help you dear Soldier in this fight for the spiritual lives of many. Use them if you can. Devise some authentic, caring moments to reach out to people in need. Get out of the corps. Learn who lives around your corps. Be aware of the needs of your community…and get on with loving the least of these!
Just another thing to ponder for our Army world today!
To God be the glory!