Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: LOCAL OUTREACH

by monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan.

Before we close this month’s HOSPITALITY discussion about sharing the love of JESUS from our homes, Lindsay asked if I would share a quick post with a few recent examples of easy real-life local family outreach (in the midst of raising our 7 children and being passionately involved in world missions).

“REACH OUT!”

Reaching out into our local area with the love of Jesus doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little focused effort, a couple hours of designated time, and a few family friends, we can make a BIG impact for God’s Kingdom, right in our own neighborhoods and in our local cities.

Let me just share what our family’s been doing. Recently, our newlywed son and his bride (Josh & Anna) have been leading a brand-new local outreach. Their heart is to do random-acts-of-kindness in our community, in Jesus’ Name, and to share God’s love in creative ways. It’s called REACH OUT!

We’ve been doing REACH OUT as a local church-outreach, but it’s mostly been a few key families. And as Alex & Brett Harris wrote in DO HARD THINGS, about not forgetting the “Home Team Advantage,” younger brothers and sisters make great consistent volunteers!

Nearly every Saturday morning, we meet in our church parking lot at 9:00 AM. Josh & Anna open up the back of their car, which is equipped with very important REACH OUT supplies: coffee, hot cocoa, and donuts (now I realize that many of you Passionate Homemakers are health conscious, but we’ve found this “ingredient” quite helpful for fellowship and keeping our volunteers happy). Josh welcomes everyone (that’s him in the black jacket, above). He and Anna present a simple plan for the next few hours (sometimes with a local map to show different teams where we’ll be going), there’s a brief Bible word of encouragement; then, we gather hands and PRAY for God’s GRACE!!!

Other than this short time together, there are NO planning meetings, and everyone (of all ages and all levels of Christian maturity) are welcome. By 9:20 to 9:30 AM, we’re done with our donuts, and we’re out into our community — on the streets or door-to-door.

Here’s a few examples of what we’ve done…

One cold Saturday morning, we took carafes of hot cocoa to the streets, with fancy cups and straws, spruced-up with whipped cream, and caramel topping. We touched about 100 people one-on-one (“Just wanting to be SWEET!”), and invited many people to church.

The two directly above the cup are our young teens, Mark and Caela.


On a few other weeks, we visited a local assisted living center. We sang a few hymns and Christian songs about Jesus. Families shared Bible memory verses, the Ten Commandments (with hand motions), and the Lord’s Prayer. And the kids talked with people, gave hugs, and displayed special art work.

Our son, Mark especially enjoyed sharing his clay creations, and talking with elderly friends.

Some of our REACH OUT team enjoyed painting fingernails for precious ladies.

The young lady on the right is our new daughter, Anna.

On Valentine's Day, we handed out chocolates and Bible verses. Some of the women and girls went to store parking lots and on the streets to give away candy "kisses" to ladies, and to tell them, "God loves you SO MUCH, and wants you to know that you're BEAUTIFUL!!!"

On other days, we went door-to-door washing windows, raking leaves, or offering to sweep sidewalks (that's me, above, with our youngest son, Philip. We both love to SMILE and to make people happy!!!).

A few weeks ago, we walked and prayed over our downtown businesses and over the public schools. Last week, we “blitzed” the city with 1000 postcards to invite people to church. We’ve picked up garbage. We’ve given flower-seed packets with a note about “a FRESH START” with Jesus (as I shared in my Holy Week article), and we’ve shared about the Lord at parades and local events.

It’s been fun, and it’s been very good for our city, our church, and our kids! We’ve had great interactions about the Lord and some very special times of prayer. Some people have rejected us, and refused our kindness, but others have been truly touched and impacted (some with tears and genuine gratitude). And all together, in just a few months, we’ve reached approximately 2,000 people, face-to-face, with the LOVE of GOD. We’re simply planting seeds and shining GOD’S LIGHT (outside of our home and outside our church walls). God’s Holy Spirit does the work.

About 11:15 AM, we gather back in the parking lot to “debrief” and to share exciting testimonies from the day (and as we’re waiting, we eat any leftover donuts). Then we gather hands and PRAY for God to seal the work. We’re done by 11:30 AM, so everyone can be back to their homes by noon. It’s been AWESOME!!! (And it’s SO exciting, as a mom, to see our kids REACHING OUT!)


Mentor Families for World Missions

SPECIAL BOOK GIVE-AWAY:

I’ve just put written a 4-week small group guide (available as a FREE PDF download) for mentoring families for world missions (using my two books, The Mission-Minded Child and The Mission-Minded Family). If you would like to help me “test-run” this idea by going through this 4-week study with another mom, or for you and your husband to share this with another couple, I’d be happy to send you 2 FREE sets of my books (4 FREE books each).

For this offer, I would like to give away 5 FREE SETS. First-come, First-serve. I bought 20 books for this purpose (they aren’t free, even for me as the author), but I really want to encourage families to expand God’s Kingdom. If you’re interested (and if you can recruit at least one friend or family to do this 4-week study with you), just CONTACT ME with your full name and mailing address.


Also, for those of you who live in the Northwest, I’d also like to invite you and your family to Christian Renewal Center (located in Silverton, Oregon) for this year’s Memorial Day Weekend Family Retreat. My husband Jon and I are going to be speaking throughout the weekend on “Becoming a Kingdom-Focused Family” (with 7 keys from the Lord’s Prayer for thriving as a Christian family). I’d love to meet you!

About ADunagan

Ann Dunagan is a longtime homeschooling mother of 7 (ages 11 to 25, with 4 graduates), an international speaker with Harvest Ministry, co-founder of orphan ministries in East Africa and India (caring for over 700 children), and author of several books including The Mission-Minded Family. With a passion for the Lord and the lost, Ann motivates families for world missions.

13 Responses to Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: LOCAL OUTREACH

  1. casandra April 29, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    every tuesday our church has an outreach time. and although sometimes the best part of that day was grabing a coffee at starbucks or wawa and having fellowship with everyone else that went out, there are still other days when someone bows their head to receive Christ and we rejoice greatly over that. we just have to stay faithful to what God has commissioned us to do. it’s great to see our young people having a heart for Christ too! keep up the godly work:)

  2. [email protected] April 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    What a absolutely wonderful idea to help bring families and communities together and to teach the Gospel of Christ! Now to go make some healthified doughnuts and hot cocoa! ;)

  3. Mindy @ The Purposed Heart April 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Such an encouraging post Ann! I LOVED seeing the pictures and hearing about what you and your family and friends are doing to spread the love of Christ!

    So many people in the world desperately need the hope that only Christ can give. If we don’t share the news of Jesus with them, how will they ever find that hope? A verse that has really been convicting me lately is Romans 10:14. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” If we don’t tell others about Jesus, then how are they to come to know Him and His precious saving grace?

    Keep up the fantastic work spreading the love of Jesus and being such an encouragement to others – like you were to me today!

    Blessings,
    Mindy

  4. ADunagan April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Hello everyone!!!

    I wanted to let you know that I’ve given away the 5 FREE MISSION-MINDED FAMILIES book sets. The winners have all been contacted, and these were awarded within about 30 minutes from when this post went online this morning.

    The winners (who will each receive 4 FREE books each) are:

    SHANNON P.
    CHARITY M.
    AMY C.
    GAYLE E., and
    ELIZABETH H.

    Thank you all for participating, and for all the enthusiastic response and sweet comments through our website. Although I can’t offer any more FREE books right now, it’s still possible to for anyone to lead a 4-week small group MISSION-MINDED FAMILIES mentoring study.

    If you’d like more information about this, go ahead and send me a note through our Harvest Ministry CONTACT page, and I’ll send you some links to online FREE samples of both books (with several sample chapters for each book), the FREE study guide to download, and links to several other FREE mission-minded family resources.

  5. Narelle April 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    What fantastic ideas – thanks for sharing!

  6. Lisa April 27, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    such sweet ideas!

  7. Danielle April 27, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    I really like most of these ideas. The ones about really connecting and talking with people and inviting them to church. When witnessing I try to steer away from ‘Jesus loves you’ -let-me-give-you-free-stuff approach. I think that doesn’t give a correct (complete) view of the gospel. The truth is that YES God loves us, His love is complete and true and ultimately proved by in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. I think witnessing should include sharing with people their need for God.
    I really like the going to seniors homes to talk, connect and share. And being present at local events for the purpose of sharing the gospel. I think giving gospel tracts is a fabulous way to share the gospel. People hang on to it, stick it in their purse/pocket and read it at home or while on the bus/metro, etc. There are so many opportunities to give tracts. Ie. That random lady you talked to in line at the grocery store, if you take public transport (like me) you can hand it out to people as they sit there (all they’re doing is sitting there anyways) and most everybody will accept it. It gets the gospel into the hands of many people that way! Our phone number is on the tracts, so if they want more information, we’re not leaving them hanging.

    • ADunagan April 27, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Danielle!

      I really appreciate your comment. I agree that just saying GOD LOVES YOU, or JESUS LOVES YOU, and then giving away something “free” doesn’t present a complete view of the Gospel message and people’s desperate need to be saved from their sins by the blood of Jesus; however, it’s a little seed, that can maybe get people thinking, and can maybe soften up a heart to begin thinking about the Lord.

      In our area, the vast majority of people NEVER go to church. Many people never even think about church, or God, or Jesus (so it seems irrelevant to them), and many of these precious people probably don’t even know anyone personally who goes to church.

      At the same time, sometimes as church-going families with nearly all-Christian relatives and friends (especially as homeschooling families), our kids could literally could go for months without ever really “connecting” with anyone who isn’t Christians (other than workers at stores or gas stations). Even for this element, I’ve seen that this REACH OUT idea has been VERY good for our kids. They’ve been talking and meeting so many people, and they’ve been able to see with their own eyes how many people don’t know the Lord. It’s put real “faces” to our prayers for the “lost.”

      We’re seeking God’s help to love our community, and to begin to care more. Doing these little things is definitely not the WHOLE answer, at all. but we want to get out of our comfort-zones, and begin to SEE the needs and to share a little kindness and LIGHT (specifically mentioning GOD and JESUS) to break into their dark world.

      BTW, our family just ordered a big box of tracts to help us to share the Gospel. GOOD SUGGESTION!!! Blessings to you!!

      • Danielle April 27, 2011 at 11:13 am #

        I completely agree Ann. I just think that putting a tract in their hand is a better way to ‘soften up a heart to begin thinking about the Lord.’ What better way to do that than to use Bible verses in a tract, because those are the Words of LIFE. We care more about their soul than their stomach, right? I guess for me I don’t want to confuse people that Christians are ‘nice people,’ but rather people who care about the soul.

        This is a great post though Ann. I needed the challenge to be more intentional to plan witnessing opportunities. Thanks!

        • Anna May 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

          I really love these ideas, and I know that is important to display good works in our community, but if we don’t share the gospel of Jesus Christ our deeds are done in vain. I think the tracts are a great idea, because often when we just place an invitation to a church we invite people to become imitators of us, so all along they think if they can act like us, look like us, they MUST be one of us! When in reality they need to know that they are wretched sinners in need of a Savior, we don’t want to be loving people to hell.

          Trevin Wax in his new book “Counterfeit Gospels” says: We do good deeds for more than evangelism’s sake, but never for less.

          For excellent tracts and a rock solid gospel presentation go to livingwaters.com, Ray Comfort uses the lost Biblical key to using the God’s Law in evangelism to shed light on the sinners heart.

  8. Maura April 27, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Great ideas!

  9. Ashley April 27, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    This is such great inspiration. My husband and I are just starting our family and want to teach our children about sharing Jesus’ love, especially in tangible ways like this. Thank you for the encouragement to get started!

  10. shannon p April 27, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    That is awesome! After reading Radical and making some changes in our family my husband and I are asking ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” We talked this week about how we want our kids to have an outward, mission-minded focus. We’ve decided we want to be the “weirdos” that don’t have their kids in soccer, ballet, t-ball, and music lessons. We want our kids to be serving soup at the shelter or sharing Bible verses at the assisted living home. I love the idea of painting nails! Thanks for the encouragement.