For churches, there isn’t a time to not put your best foot forward to fully engage with all God has asked you to do as you help build His Kingdom. Outreach is anything your church does to connect with the community. How is your church reaching your community daily, weekly, or monthly? We want to share 10 winter ministry ideas for your church to start a conversation for engagement.
Ministry ideas for church members and small groups include:
- Establishing contacts at the local utility companies to help identify those needing help paying their bills.
- Hosting a “Dress the Snowman” drive where people can donate scarves, hats, and mittens/gloves of all sizes.
- Blanket drive for the local Fire Department
- Organizing Saturday community field days full of sports and games
- Contacting a local homeless/food shelter and ask to fulfill their most requested items
- Supporting nearby schools, daycares, and senior care facilities with ongoing assistance and projects
John 13:35 often ignites a calling in us to display our God-focused love so that outsiders will identify us as Christians, but are we also loving the church and her members around the corner from us? Sometimes it’s easier to love and plan winter church ideas for a stranger who doesn’t know anything about Jesus or the fruits of the Spirit rather than a fellow Christian from a different denomination, for example. The Message translation of Colossians 3:14 is one of my favorites,
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, and quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
If we are always wearing love, then that’s what is shared with every person we come in contact with.
On that note, winter church outreach ideas should also include partnering up in love, word, and deed with other churches and nonprofit organizations. When people see your church supporting other ministries, it does two beneficial things. It reinforces your commitment to community building. And it allows people to engage in outreach events outside of your church walls without physically leaving your church. Implementing this can be as simple and straightforward as:
- Praying for other area churches – even neighboring ones – during public services.
- Having special offerings and donating it all to a ministry partner
- Sharing testimonies of how your help has aided other ministry partners
- Welcoming leaders of other organizations to speak at your church
People know that a single person or ministry can’t meet world needs. As that awareness increases, so does the desire to seek answers and opportunities outside the walls of your church to help bring them into a community of believers. Assimilation leads to engagement, engagement to discipleship, and discipleship to growth – numerically and spiritually.
Chances are, many people in your database have never returned. They were with you for a single Sunday or a season but are nowhere to be seen. This group of people is one of your greatest mission fields. They have already taken the first brave step to visit a new church, so the stigma is off. Who knows why they didn’t come back? But chances are, it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.
Here’s one of the top outreach winter ministry ideas that might also need to be implemented every season: With good group directory and list segmentation tools, you can set custom rules to discover who has been there and who needs a second touch. Put them in a list, send them a targeted email, and viola! You’re on your way to engaging people who’ve already tasted and touched what your church offers. It might be just the thing they need when the holidays are over, and the weather might keep them a bit more isolated than their physical, mental, and spiritual life requires.
Church Leaders reports, “James says that Elijah was just like us. He suffered from anxiety, despair, unbelief, weakness, loneliness, and lack of human ability. But by living a life of persevering faith and dependence on God’s grace, mercy, power, and presence, God used him to confront the wayward sinful nations while displaying God’s glory and truth.” This is exactly why we have outreach. We have all struggled in different ways- some that were evident and some that were more hidden and internal. But, someone reached out and made an impact to draw us close to the Lord and into His community. Thanks be to God! And now, do unto them- when you wrap your winter coat around your shoulders, ask the Holy Spirit to clothe you in genuine love and compassion for those with whom you cross paths.
Don’t Let the Unreached Near You Slip Through the Cracks
Studies show that more and more people around us are not being reached by local churches. In 2019, nearly 3 of 10 people in the United States were not affiliated with any religious group.
That means your church’s mission field is all around you. Yet it still can be hard to discern how to reach those unreached people in your community.
Lauren is a Territory Account Manager for ACS Technologies. She’s been with ACST since 2019, working with churches of all sizes and, most recently, large churches (1200+ AWA). As the Children’s Director and Worship Leader for her church, she knows the everyday struggles church staff face in making it all happen. Lauren’s goal is to partner with as many churches across the country to help them move forward doing ministry.