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).
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.
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.
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!)
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!