Going Into All the Neighborhoods

Love in action

Outreach is simply reaching out and extending God's love in a tangible way, which makes a lasting impression and a good one, at that!

One youth group in Colorado Springs spends New Year's Day going door to door with AA batteries. "Hi. Here's a new battery for your smoke detector," they say. "We're from [such-and-such] church, and we just wanted to wish you a happy New Year."

Mechanics from another church volunteer a few hours one Saturday a month to provide routine car care for single mothers. Whether an oil change, tuneup or simply checking the air in the tires, the men of this church offer these women both a much-needed service and the security of knowing they have reliable transportation.

No Bible banging, no tracts, no training. Just ordinary folks doing ordinary things, with extraordinary results in the minds and hearts of others.

Tanya Price

It's been said that there's a church on every corner, and often that is true. But do the people who live just down the street know about your church and the people who comprise it?

Someone once put it this way: "Witness at all times. If you have to, use words." Boost your church's outreach by encouraging your congregation to simply love the people in your community. While you're at it, why don't you and your family set the example?

It's as easy as . . .

  • Taking your kids to a high school ballgame
  • Donating one Saturday a month to a Habitat for Humanity or other work project.
  • Attending school musicals, plays or band concerts (even if your kids aren't involved).
  • Inviting your child's teacher to your home for dinner.
  • Offering to speak or lead an invocation at a senior center or your local chamber of commerce.
  • Volunteering at a food bank, hospice or pregnancy resource center.
  • Serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused or neglected children.
  • Delivering meals to seniors or other homebound people.
  • Spending one day a month working at a school or the public library, or teaching English to a new citizen.
  • Ladling soup at a homeless shelter.
  • Unloading trucks at the Salvation Army center.
  • Asking your grocery checker how her day is going.

The possibilities are endless. And there's plenty of need to go around. True, not every community event is "neutral," and you don't want to endorse something that goes against your beliefs. But, at the same time, hosting events at the church — even opening it up as a polling location during elections — will show that your church cares about your community.

When you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty or take the time to sit with a nursing home patient who has no visitors, you're giving up one of today's most precious commodities — time. And when those moments demonstrate Christ's love, well, that's time well spent.

Article copyright © 2003, Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
Used by permission.

Brad Lewis was assisted with this article by Tanya Price.