By Jason Daye
Outreach is about building bridges to your community to effectively share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s about developing relationships and making disciples. The great thing about bridges is that they go two ways. You should be sending people out into your community, but you also need to be inviting your community into your church. Here are some ways that you can bring people into your community throughout the year.
- January. Invite people back to after the holiday season is over. Consider hosting a New Year celebration, a parents’ night out, or even introducing a new sermon series.
- February. Major events this month include the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day. Consider a tailgate or watch party for the Superbowl at your church. You could also encourage your congregation to have their own watch parties in their homes and invite friends from the community as well as church members. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to host a couples dinner or a marriage enrichment event.
- March and April. These two months focus on Easter. Connect with your community through Easter egg hunts, spring flings, or even small fairs and festivals. Smaller events serve as a great way to invite the community to the Easter service at your church. It’s also good to consider what you can invite the community to outside of Easter. By starting a new sermon series on Easter Sunday, there is a natural invitation for newcomers to come back for the new series.
- May. Often the focus of May is Mother’s Day. Celebrate the women in your church! Think about possibly hosting a community event like a walk or a run to benefit a local pregnancy resource center.
- Summer months. Movie nights throughout the summer are a known hit, no matter the area you live in. Look for organizations in your area that you could partner with to host a movie night. Hand out water bottles in a local park with your church’s information attached to them. Your church may also consider hosting a variety of different kids and youth camps, whether it be focused on sports or creative arts.
- August. Host a back-to-school bash with different school-related giveaways. Or hold a school supply drive for people in your church to donate school supplies and backpacks to provide to schools in your community. You can make backpack stuffing a community event to attend by adding live music, games, and even food.
- September. September is the month of back-to-church Sunday. This is a great time to mobilize the people in your church to invite their social circles to come to church and get connected. This is also a great month to honor your first-responders, local heros, and teachers.
- October. Host a fall festival or partner with a local pumpkin patch. This provides you a great opportunity to collaborate with other local organizations to provide food, music, or other services in order to boost the community involvement at your event.
- November. November is a great month to host tailgate parties at local football games or to host a Thanksgiving community breakfast or race. Thanksgiving is also a great time to reach out to any international students in your area. This is a unique opportunity because those students likely don’t have a place to go over the holiday and some might not even know what Thanksgiving is.
- December. With everything this month being focused around Christmas, it’s a great opportunity for your church to love on your community. Consider setting up a gift wrapping table at your local mall or adopting a school for the Christmas season. This involves finding out the needs of local school teachers and filling them as well as being intentional about the way you encourage your local teachers.
Be intentional about the way you lead your church to engage in community not only within the church but also with your local community. As you look at the coming year, think about the ways you can build bridges with your local community and have a gospel impact.
Adapted from Engaging in Community Outreach. Check out this FREE course on Ministry Grid!
Jason Daye is the Vice President of Mobilization at Outreach Inc.