ideas you can use
Professional church planters share creative ideas for outreach.
by Richard Atwood
Find out more about Free Will Baptist Home Missions at www.homemissions.net.
As I travel and visit home missionaries, I continually see new methods for outreach, discipleship, worship, etc. Like any ministry, not everything works well, but home missionaries must be innovative without compromising Bible principles. In this article, I will share a few of these creative ideas I have seen in action. Maybe you can try them in your area.
Salt Lake City, utah
Team church planters Scott Warren and Randy Ledbetter are missionaries to Salt Lake City, Utah. Scott recently showed me a video he made for their last baptism service. He interviewed those scheduled for baptism and showed the video during the service. Many new Christians are afraid to give a testimony when baptized. The video method allows them to tell their stories with less fear. It provides a powerful testimony to everyone watching.
When the video is made, Scott doesn’t just ask them to talk. He asks questions that will help them tell their story. If they go too long or make mistakes, the video can be edited.
Here are some sample questions:
Describe how you came to be a follower of Christ.
How has your life changed since you became a Christ follower?
Why do you want to be baptized?
Do you have any closing comments to those at your baptism?
The person who is baptized gets a copy of the video along with his or her baptism certificate.
Howard Gwartney in Florence, Arizona, has many good ideas. My wife and I enjoyed a service at his church last November on time change Sunday. Even though they don’t change their clocks in Arizona, it is time to change the batteries on smoke alarms. Howard had batteries ready to give to his people after church on Sunday. He asked them to give the batteries, along with an invitation card to their church to prospective newcomers.
The church prints attractive invitation cards that include the church’s name and logo, web address, time of service, phone number, and a map to the church. This opens the door to relationships and makes it easier for his people to invite others. It also makes the invitation more memorable to the receiver.
In Pennsylvania, missionary Nate Altom decided to start a flag football league as a new outreach tool. Ads were placed in the local newspaper, and flyers were displayed in sporting goods stores. On the start-up date, participants were divided into teams, with Home Missionary Tom Jones as the referee. Tom must really take his position seriously. In one game, he pulled a muscle in his back while running down the sideline.
Nate reports they have gotten to know many guys through the league, and a few of have visited the church. It has worked so well that they plan on doing it in a bigger way next summer.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dexter Guin, recently held “Outdoor Night” at his church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their special speaker was Chad Schearer, a professional outdoor guide who presents hunting and fishing seminars across the country.
Chad is also a Christian, and at the conclusion of his presentation, he told his listeners about an encounter with a bear. His story led to his testimony and a gospel presentation. Five men were saved that night.
The church gave away free knives and a gun, and local businesses donated door prizes. People were required to register for the free gifts. The event drew about 60 visitors, and most were men.
David Sexton and Marc Neppl had just began holding services in Suffolk, Virginia, and wanted to spread the word about their church. They decided to sponsor a booth at the annual Peanut Festival. Over 200,000 people attended the three-day festival. They gave away free helium balloons and encouraged people to register to win a free Nintendo Wii. On the registration, there was a place to ask for more information about the church. Many people requested information. Three people visited the church the following Sunday and one was saved.
Jeremy and Jill Lightsey are working hard to start a new church in San Antonio, Texas. Like many young families, they don’t have time or money for vacations. Jeremy and Jill recently went to a week’s retreat for free. The retreat is open to all pastors, and they really enjoyed it. The only requirement is to do some Bible reading and lunch with other pastors. The retreat starts on a Sunday night and goes through Friday. Currently, three retreats are held in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Texas. You just have to get there. Visit www.pastorsretreatnetwork.org for more information.
About the Writer: Richard Atwood is the director of missionary assistance for the Home Missions Department. To learn more about the ministry of Home Missions, visit www.homemissions.net.