Outreach in any community begins with intentionality - caring for others and finding ways to share Jesus in a clear, concise way. The summer months provide an especially unique opportunity for churches to impact the lives of those around them. While the best outreach ideas often come from you and those in your church, your friends at Texas Baptists are always available to come alongside and help find more ways to make an impact in your community. Contact the missions team to learn more, or try one of the ideas below.
1. Fire up the lawn mower for someone in need
Ask your city if they know of any senior adults who are having trouble meeting certain building codes, particularly when it comes to mowing the grass. Organize a group from your church and take time to do this. Helping a senior adult with routine maintenance will serve a need, endear you to the neighborhood, and make your church valuable to city leaders.
2. Volunteer for holiday festivities
Find out whether or not your community is holding a holiday celebration, and how your church can get involved.This could include volunteering, setting up a booth for your church, or giving away water in the crowds. Make sure to coordinate with event organizers to ensure you do not take away any fundraising opportunity from local non-profits such as Lions Club or Rotary.
3. The classic: Vacation Bible School
Children are more likely than adults to make a profession of faith. As a result, VBS is widely considered to be the single most effective way to draw children to Jesus. We can help you plan a simple VBS, and connect you with free VBS curriculum through our publisher BaptistWay Press. You can also check with other churches for leftover decorations or materials. VBS involves a large portion of your church in ministry, which tends to benefit more than just the children who attend.
4. VBS lite: Leaving the building behind
If you feel like a full VBS is a little much for you, then take the same curriculum and put on what is called a Backyard Bible Club. This can be done with just a few volunteers and is most useful in an apartment complex or neighborhood. Contact the person in charge of the gazebo, clubhouse or other main building. An apartment complex may be glad to host you for a few days or a week given you are offering to improve the lives of their residents.
5. Hit the practice fields
Each summer on the athletic fields of Texas schools, young men and women are preparing for the grueling sports season ahead. Consider caring for a specific school or team. If you are able, go to practice and be in the stands, give out sports drinks at the end of practice, or even provide a meal on certain days. Encouraging your church to love and support these students and their families could have a lasting impact.
6. Go green: Get into the parks
Drive around to the parks in your community to see where people tend to gather out of doors. Pick an evening during the week, then go to that park and give out cold bottled water, free hot dogs and information about your church. Consider returning to that same spot a week or two later to build relationships with those who frequent the space.
7. Turn it up: Throw a lawn concert
Get a few local artists with appropriate music and ask them to perform a concert on your church lawn in the evening. Invite the community to participate, and share a simple gospel message at the close of the concert. One pastor shares that people who never attend his church will typically pull in and be a part of this type of community event.
8. Step up your feeding program
The US Department of Agriculture wants to ensure that children who are on free and reduced lunch during the school year continue to have access to nutritious meals throughout the summer. Often times the church can step in to do that. Consider beginning this ministry in your church, or finding another group that is already doing it and inquire about volunteer opportunities.
9. Rotating block parties
Pick a few key neighborhoods surrounding your church. Host block parties at members’ homes who live in those neighborhoods. Contact your local Baptist association, as many of the associations have block party trailers. Through the event you can build relationships with the folks in your community, and invite them to church.
10. Make contact: Pray for every home
As the summer draws to an end and school begins anew, people often consider going back to church. This means summer is the perfect time to start making contacts in your community with prospective church goers. Consider using pray4everyhome.com in your neighborhood. Keep a prayer list, write a note, then towards the end of summer, take a gift to a certain number of homes in your community.
11. Keep cool: Start an in-home Bible study
Summer can be intense, and sometimes you need to keep it cool and simple. Consider starting a Bible study in a home. Invite those that are not going to church, and begin to build relationships with them. Have the Bible study every week for 8-10 weeks throughout the season. Though people will likely miss one or two because of vacations or other obligations, they will likely get to a lot of them.
Visit texasbaptists.org/missions for more information.