As a church leader, I understand that outreach events can be very taxing. The planning, advertising, and implementation can take a toll on you and your leadership team. One way to alleviate this stress is to engage through existing community events. At our church, we have stopped creating so many events and started engaging in existing ones.
Today, for instance, is Memorial Day. Many communities across America have parades and parties. While your church may host an event, it may work as well or better to have a distinct presence at the community sponsored event. As you consider the best way to impact your community for Jesus, consider these five ideas that might help you do the same.
1. Learn from Jesus and bring your best.
In John 2, Jesus is at a wedding in Cana. When the wedding host ran out of wine, Jesus made water into wine. Not only did Jesus make wine, he made wine that was far better than what they had before. In the same way, followers of Jesus should bring their best to events. If it’s a party, bring the best food. If it’s a service project, bring the best effort. Whatever the opportunity, bring your best and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
2. Consider which opportunities have the greatest impact potential.
As you consider community events, think about which events have the biggest potential to make a real difference where you live. A few questions to consider are, “What is close to the heartbeat of your community?” “What do the people love and cherish?” “Which opportunities impact the poor and the least of these?” As well as, “What are your people gifted to do?”
Some events will require a willing hand, while others need a specific expertise. At the end of the day, be led by God and serve just as He has served us.
3. Leave your agenda at home.
When you go to help at an event, be ready to open yourself up to however the leaders ask you to serve. Make sure to meet with your people beforehand so that they understand this as well. Set aside any agenda; the last thing you want is to attach your service to expectations.
4. Design a church t-shirt.
One thing that will help your church get a name for serving in the community is a good logo and t-shirt. Before every event, make sure to remind your people to wear theirs. As you wear these shirts, you are letting your community know who you are. Of course, you want Jesus to be the hero, but you also want your church to be known for serving in your community. The more they relate your church with serving, the more you will have a voice to tell them about the one who has ultimately served them through the cross.
5. Offer to do the stuff that no one else wants to do.
In John 13, Jesus and the disciples were about to have a meal together. The one thing apparently no one wanted to do was wash everyone’s feet. This task was reserved for the lowest servant and yet Jesus did it. Then Jesus told them, “I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you” (John 13:15, CSB).
As followers of Jesus, He has set an example that we are to follow. We are to take the position of the lowest servants because he has done the same. When we serve at an event, we should be eager to take the worst jobs. We should also stay until the end so that we can help clean up the mess. By doing this, we are resembling the one who served us beyond compare.
Opportunities to serve are everywhere, so we need not reinvent the wheel.
Pull up the community calendar to see what’s already happening and how you might join in. As you do this, remember the Gospel and find the motivation to serve just like Jesus has served us.