Friday, February 13, 2009

Unique Ministry Ideas

Outreach and evangelism have been on my mind lately (as they often are). My desire to see others come to faith in Jesus is so strong that I read a lot of books on outreach, service evangelism, and such. Many of the ideas I come across are things I've tried, or seen, or at least heard of from others. Today, I came across a few ideas that I had never heard of before, or which were - at the least - more unusual. Since I'm always open to new methods of sharing the gospel with unbelievers - within reason, of course! - these sounded pretty neat.'s Christian Teens section suggested a Craft Donation where volunteers make items to send to our soldiers. While I know a lot of people send things overseas, what struck me about this project was the aspect of making things rather than simply buying them. If I were away from home, I'd be thrilled to get a gift that someone (especially a teen or a child) took the time to create just for me.

The same site suggested a Prom Dress Exchange where everyone brings in their gently used formals and swaps them with others who can use them. I'd take that a step further and give them to those in need, even if they didn't bring a dress to swap. If you've looked at prom dresses recently, you know how expensive they are! We had a young girl in one of our churches who wouldn't have been able to go to her prom if we hadn't bought her dress. And I'm sure there are many others with the same kind of need. Maybe you could even work to find sponsors who would buy prom dresses for some of the youth.

With summer coming soon (Thank You, Lord!!), your church might consider setting up a program to mow lawns for your elderly or disabled. Lawn mowing is hard work. And it's heartbreaking to see people pushing a lawn mower around a yard who are obviously not in good enough shape, physically, to be doing so. Sign up young people to mow lawns on a regular basis as a service to the older members and prospects in your church.

Then those elderly can provide after-school tutoring for the kids. One small-town church I know of does this very well and has made a huge impact in their church and community with this program.

The Church of the Nazarene has a program where we create emergency Care Kits filled with specific items such as toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. There is a detailed list we follow so that each kit is the same. We then send the kits to our General Church office and they are disbursed around the world as needs arise. (Hundreds of these were sent to Hurricane Katrina victims, for instance.)

While I love this program and always take part, it strikes me that we shouldn't have to wait for an emergency to show we care. And we shouldn't care only for those in other countries. There are homeless persons, prisoners, elderly, disabled, nursing home residents, single parents and many others who would probably be thrilled to receive a plastic bag filled with toothpaste, deodorant, soaps and other necessary items. And creating local care kits is something most anyone can do to spread God's love in their own neighborhood.

These are just a few of the hundreds and hundreds of ideas you can find for ministering to others. But whatever you decide... do something to reach out to others in Jesus' name.


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