Fall brings a season where many people step back into routines and schedules. This often also brings new faces to our churches, interested in checking out our community and possibly becoming involved. In Jonathan Howe’s article “10 Outreach Ideas For Your Church This Fall “ at thomrainer.com, he explores some fresh new outreach ideas.
He points out that many churches use the same events each year to draw new families, like a back-to-school event for families with children, a Fifth Quarter event, and a Fall Festival around Halloween. While these may be “tried and true” they also are predictable. Howe’s challenge to church leaders is to attempt to think outside the box and try something new.
Some of his suggestions include hosting a hunting event at the beginning of the hunting season. Host a men’s dinner and encourage men to invite their friends. This is a great opportunity to invite a speaker through your local DNR or a respected avid hunter from your area. This could be a great segue to creating some small groups out of this community of men.
Howe suggests staffing a concession stand at a local park or stadium. Many high school football programs struggle to find volunteers to staff their concession stands at their Friday night football games. This would be a great way to invest in your community and create an opportunity to get to know the families of the players.
Another suggestion was to wear church t-shirts at a local event, advertising the church or an event taking place at the church. Members volunteering at the football game concession stand could wear their t-shirts. Or if a small group attends a community event like a concert in the park or a parade, they could all wear their shirts together. This is a great way to create conversation and naturally invite someone to your church! Obviously it is incredibly important to wear your shirt along with a loving and gracious attitude toward your neighbor as you advertise attending your church!
With the school year starting, Howe suggests hosting a breakfast for teachers when school begins. Another way to bless teachers would be to offer a free car wash to teachers on a day they have off school or during after school hours. Or your church could make care packages for school bus drivers that could include a bottle of water, hand sanitizer, sunglasses and a gift card to a fast food restaurant. School bus drivers have a huge responsibility and are usually quite overworked and underpaid.
Howe’s 10th outreach idea is undoubtedly the most important. He suggests planning an event where church members are trained in sharing the Gospel and sharing their personal testimony of receiving the Gospel message. This alone has the potential to impact every interaction these members have with others in their community. If given the training and confidence they need to share their story of how the Gospel impacted their lives, they can then evangelize wherever they go. Outreach will happen organically through everyday relationships.
Howe’s challenge to try something new can make a huge impact on your church this year. One or two different approaches to community outreach and evangelism can positively impact your congregation for years to come.
So what new idea are you eager to try this fall?