The Evangelism Group

Equipping The Future

Duct Tape and Soda Pop

Duct Tape1Duct Tape and Soda Pop
Dr. Marshall M. Windsor

Over the years I have enjoyed talking to folks about what has worked in their respective communities as far as outreach was concerned. I usually hear a lot of fairly common ideas that worked with varying levels of success. But, I happened to talk with a youth pastor about a very peculiar outreach event that took his small town by storm.

The event was held and promoted as a youth night lock-in. Everyone was told to invite all their friends, but to let them know there was one requirement: They had to bring one roll of duct tape and one 2-litre bottle of soda pop to get inside. No other details were given and the only explanation given for the duct tape and soda pop was that they would find out when they got there. No one knew the game plan except for the youth pastor, which confirms a vital truth; if you want to stir up excitement in a youth group just try to keep everything secret!

The fervor began as the young people told their friends at school. The week before the event, the local hardware store sold out of duct tape and the small-town, local grocery store’s volume of soda pop sales had exploded. In a small town it doesn’t take much to get the attention of local townspeople, so the aspect of a duct tape and soda pop lock-in was just the thing to stir the local interest and get the rumor mill running.

When the lock-in night arrived, all the youth assembled with their guests in the gymnasium. Of all the festivities that took place, the main event involved dividing the youth into teams of at least three people. Each team was given a scripture written in large letters on duct tape that was subsequently torn into several pieces and stuck to one wall of the gym. The team would have to transfer the duct tape from one wall to the opposite wall and arrange the verse of scripture correctly. Each team was given a Bible to help and the first team to correctly arrange and transfer their verse won the match. Play offs continued until there was a winning team that received a grand prize.

The game was more than just fun – it was strategic. At least one believer and one non-believer were on each team. The believer would have the unbeliever find the scripture in the Bible and read it to them so that they could arrange the verse correctly. The Scriptures were all salvation-related Scriptures, like Romans 3:23; 6:23; 10:13; John 3:16 and so on. You can use your imagination to select as many Scriptures as you feel might work well in your situation. In this way, non-believers could actually hold and read a Bible in a non-threatening environment. A salvation message was given at the end and many young people made decisions for Christ!

So the next time you, or your youth group, decide to hold a youth lock-in, stir up those creative juices for an outreach worth remembering. Look at the resources available to you and then get together with like-minded folks to share the love of Jesus Christ in an out-of-the-box, fun and exciting way! You might even have folks talking about duct tape and soda pop for a very long time.

Do you have an out of the ordinary outreach idea that you’d like to share? Send me an email at windsegroup@aol.com and let me know what caused you to remember a church outreach years later! Until then, may the Lord bless your efforts to scatter the gospel seed.

November 22, 2013 Posted by | Devotions, Outreach | , , | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks When Giving Is All You’ve Got

ThanksgivingGiving Thanks When Giving Is All You’ve Got
by Dr. Marshall M. Windsor

During one Thanksgiving season, our family had the privilege of helping a church with their Thanksgiving outreach. Church members were encouraged to prepare turkeys provided by the church and bring another dish and desert for this special Sunday meal. Preparations had been made to feed approximately 400 guests that day. Tables were set up and deserts were placed at every seat—the entire church worked hard to ensure everything was ready for the big day.

When Thanksgiving Sunday rolled around there were only a few guests. Sadly, the church’s own folks comprised most of those in attendance. Of the possible 400 seats available, approximately 135 or so were filled. A lot of turkey and dressing remained after everyone finished eating that day; not-to-mention a very disappointed pastor who had worked tirelessly with his wife and church family to make this a very special day. It seemed like everyone was discouraged!

However, there were numerous good things that happened with this (and every) outreach event. As a leader, you must encourage those who have worked so hard to make an effort to reach out within their individual communities. And sometimes, you need to take a long hard look to see any good yourself. If we only look at the number of attendants, we might always be discouraged and defeated when numbers alone are lacking. But helping people see Jesus in you and your church takes time—a lot of time. That’s why consistency is so important for outreach events. Year after year consistency makes a wonderful statement to those in your community.

When conducting outreach events, even working to have an outreach is a success! After all, our sole responsibility is to scatter the Gospel seed for God…and to leave harvest up to Him. In the case of this Thanksgiving Day outreach there were several successes that needed mentioning. Maybe you can identify with some of them.

First, the ability of the church to work together in preparing for the event was amazing. A significant portion of the church (over 50%) volunteered to help! As any non-profit leader will assure you, without volunteers nothing would get done! So show your appreciation!

Second, the church discovered that they had a large number of great cooks in its midst. Everyone seemed to bring a delicious dish to share and numerous folks helped in the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but as I traveled for so many years, more than one potluck dinner comes to mind that I wish I could forget! When word gets out about your gourmet chefs – people will come just to enjoy some great food when the atmosphere is welcoming.

Third, the church passed out tickets to the event, so even if no one came, the community knew that something was happening at this church! Awareness is a key to outreach effectiveness. If no one knows your church is having an event – no one will bother to come – it’s just that simple. There are plenty of free resources (including your congregation) that are available to help with this – like social media and a church web site.

Fourth, the church family had a great opportunity to fellowship together. Corporate gatherings are a great way to nurture believers and encourage the saints! And this church has such a sweet spirit and welcoming attitude among each other that it can’t help but overflow to guests as well. They always seem to embrace folks and make them feel like long lost family members, which is exactly what you want visitors to feel when they come to your church.

And Fifth, everyone seemed to pull together for cleanup. Instead of leaving this to one or two people, everyone worked together to clean the kitchen, as well as fold up tables and chairs—what a miracle! Usually, the pastor’s wife gets left with clean up duty. I was so impressed by the fact that they had to run some folks out of the kitchen just so they could work!

All kidding aside, when outreaches don’t seem to be as fruitful as you would like you need to reinforce the positive and try, try, try again! Consistency is what pays off when doing outreach. You may have only made a small impact this time, but when you couple this church’s kind of participation with consistency, you should begin to see an increase in the fruit of your labors.

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Devotions | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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