The Evangelism Group

Equipping The Future

Outreach – Celebrate The Little Things!

celebrate_smallI recently had the privilege of helping a church with some outreach events. The schedule included a time of encouraging those participating in the outreach (about a dozen) on Friday evening, a breakfast and teaching session Saturday morning, followed by our outreach event. This was the first time that this church had conducted an outreach like this so everyone was wondering how it would turn out (would anyone actually come to the event?!).

First of all, I was so encouraged by the number of folks coming together to help with the outreach! Having a dozen-plus folks show up for outreach in a smaller community is huge. The event was held in the church parking lot and included free hot dogs (cooked onsite) with all the fixings, chips and drinks; as well as some prize drawing giveaways—all while the church’s worship team played and testimonies were shared. The outreach schedule started at 11 a.m. and began wrapping up at 2:30 p.m.

Initially, the pastor wasn’t too excited about this first time event. But, I brought several things to his attention. First, the community was more aware than ever that a church existed in their community that cared enough to offer some hospitality to their neighbors. Second, approximately seventy (70) visitors wandered through the festivities, which was great for a first-time event like this! Third, consistent events pay off. Don’t make pass or fail judgments on the turnout of one event. Word will spread and the community just may begin looking forward to a church’s annual event if it’s done with excellence in the right spirit of ministry.

The pastor agreed that this would be something worth continuing and that the event was as good for the church family as it was for the community. As a matter of fact, at one point the pastor stated, “If this outreach was for nobody else, it was for us.” That’s one of the paradigms of working with God and obeying the Great Commission: when we are obedient to take the gospel to our communities, God actually does a work in us and in our church family as well. How ironic, that we truly receive something new and refreshing from the Lord when we work to give away that which we already have—the hope of Christ. So celebrate the little things and watch them grow!


December 25, 2016 Posted by | Devotions, Outreach | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Give Up!

basketballplayerRecently, I chatted with a local pastor about his evangelism efforts in a smaller, rural community. His church isn’t that large so finding volunteers for any kind of outreach initiative is challenging. The larger churches in town seem to have most of the popular holidays—like July 4th—wrapped up with all their resources. This pastor tried many things that just did not seem successful over the years, except for their live nativity scene at Christmas that usually garnered around seventy or more cars. He was at his wits end and more than happy to visit about possibilities.

In talking with this pastor I sensed his discouragement, frustration, and hopelessness all at the same time. It wasn’t like the church wasn’t interested in evangelism, or had not tried to reach their community. They had tried numerous things to seemingly no avail. So what is a church leader to do in that kind of situation? When it seems as though you have tried it all but the fruit is missing?

The first thing I encourage any pastor to do is “Don’t give up!” When so many things go wrong or seem unfruitful, it’s easy to get discouraged and quit doing even those things that have been fruitful for your ministry. Step back and prayerfully consider what has provided even a slight reward. Repetition is often a church’s best avenue of bringing awareness to a community and the live nativity was a prime example. Seventy cars is a great number for a smaller community!

The second thing I encouraged this pastor to pray about was their web site. Since over eighty percent of first time visitors explore a church’s website it should be easy to navigate and up to date. Too much flash (small videos) on church websites can actually be a turnoff to many people, so keep it simple. Although difficult to believe, not everyone has high-speed Internet.

Lastly, for now, see what’s important to your community and become involved. Most smaller communities—and even larger ones—value authentic relationships. That means visibly building relationships one at a time in that community and finding out where there are needs that your ministry could help with—from adopting school playgrounds to the volunteer fire department. So don’t give up! As St. Augustine once said: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”

God’s Best!

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Devotions, Outreach | , , | 2 Comments

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 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

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