Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pastor's Ideas for Summer Outreach

We live in an area that has some drastic changes during the year. We go from a winter wonderland to a summer play land. These two opposites present unique opportunities to be faithful worshippers of Jesus Christ. Now that summer is approaching I am praying about what we can do as a church to love others in our very special context. I thought I would pitch these ideas just for feedback and to see if anyone is interested. Assumed for each of these is an understanding the WE NEED TO PRAY. Attempting any of these things without praying, seeking God, and submitting to his will is pure vanity and will produce no Kingdom fruit.

Park Outreach
We have the best kid parks. For some reason citizens of the CDA area will not settle for lame play structures. Nor, it seems, is it possible to go more than two miles without discovering yet another awesome park. My kids take it for granted and have become a bit snobbish about which parks they will settle for. With this in mind perhaps we should find a way to live out the Gospel in some of our parks this could include:

  • Passing out water bottles and snacks to parents watching their kids
  • Gathering for song and story times and including anyone who wants to come
  • Hosting informal worship gatherings in the park
  • Looking for opportunities to "Share Jesus Without Fear"
  • Meeting new people and asking them "How's life?"
So you see, some of those things would require a little planning and organization, but some of them just require adopting a "park outreach" mentality. Again, it all starts with prayer. Pray when you visit parks, and think about what God might want you to do. 

Easy Kid Programs
We are already planning a great kids' outreach opportunity called Vacation Bible School. That will require a lot of time and work, but it will be a great and effective (not to mention fun) way to show kids and families God's love. What I'm thinking about here is less time/work intensive opportunities that still provide kids and families something fun to do that points back to the Gospel. Ideas:
  • Mommy/Kid story time. We did this several years ago at the old building. It is basically the same as the story time at the libraries, but instead the pastor reads a bible story and sings fun Christian songs with the kids. This would be about 30 minutes once a week and doesn't require volunteers since the parents/grandparents stay with their child. As a bonus someone could organize some refreshments for a fellowship time to follow. 
  • Project Craft Day for older kids. Okay, I don't know what to call it. But older kids can get bored during the summer. Grown men and women can be immature (at any time) and need excuses to do stuff that only kids should like. Examples:
    • Build water rockets
    • Build compressed air rockets
    • Make your own play dough
    • Make marshmallow shooters
    • Build a water balloon launcher
    • Other dangerous and messy things.
    • Okay so those are all things I want to do. I'm sure there are other things you might like better. The point is we can get kids together to do these things. They can invite their friends and their parents and we can all be friends and talk about Jesus and share his love with each other. This could be a weekday thing to give stay-at-home parents a break, or it could be a Saturday thing for those working parents needing something engaging to do with their kids. All I know is, at some point, it should include rockets.
Parking Lot Party
We tried the block party thing one year and learned some things. 1. We have a great parking lot and grounds for doing things. 2. People don't automatically come.

So I'm not sure what the missing ingredient is, but I would love for us to find a way to invite the community into our parking lot in a way that lets them know we love Jesus and we love them.

What Else?
So there you go. Three thoughts about some possibilities. It doesn't take a church-wide or special team effort like VBS or the Montana church build for you to be involved in serving Jesus. His command to "teach... and baptize..." is meant for wherever you go. There's an old song that says, "Wherever He leads I'll go." That's a perfect attitude for us. Phrased another way it is also true-- wherever you go He leads. There is no aspect of your life, whether it's where you live, work or play, where God is not at work. Let's join him and seek every opportunity to serve and worship Him.