It’s November 1st. Where did the first ten months of 2021 go? Like most years, this year has flown by. Heidi and I had a great end to our September and a fabulous October. In His grace, God gave Heidi and me two more grandchildren. We celebrated our seventh anniversary at First Southern Baptist Church. Many of our members showed their love and appreciation to Heidi and me during October. We are grateful to God for so many things.
Yesterday our church invited our city to come for our annual Trunk-or-Treat. It was a great way to end a rather great month for Heidi and me. I’ve thought about our event a lot since it was completed Sunday afternoon. Pastor, I want to encourage you to find ways to invite your city to your church continually. I think there are a few practical reasons pastors and churches should consider hosting events at your church.
1. It builds excitement among your people.
I have found creating events in your church gets people excited for Kingdom work. It reminds them of their purpose and mission as a church. It isn’t about them. It causes your church to look outwardly and find ways to bless others around your area.
2. It fulfills the call of the church to reach into the city.
When the people of God were in Babylonian exile, what did God communicate to His people through the prophet Jeremiah? He tells them to live in the place of their exile. To build houses, plant gardens, marry, and in general, live. He continued to say to them as they live in the land of exile, pursue the well-being of their city. Pray for your city. See to it that your city I’m in thrives (See Jeremiah 29:4-7). We, also, are exiles and foreigners in a land not our own. What do you think God will tell you and me? Live in your city; bless your city; shine your light in the city in which you live. Is your church blessing your city? Does your church make your city a stronger and better place to live? Is your church shining Christ’s light into your city?
3. We invited Salina and many strangers were blessed by our church.
At our Trunk-or-Treat, we handed out 54 bags of complete Tex-Mex Chicken Soup. 54 different homes picked up a bag with an invitation to church. Our people donated everything we gave away. Pastor, what are you doing where you were able to bless 54 different homes in your city in the span of an hour and a half at zero cost to your church?
4. It communicates to the people in your city that your church is there and you care.
This event has a dual purpose. First, it blesses our young families in our church with a safe trick-or-treating option. Most of our trunks were staffed by our “older” families. Secondly, it brought many strangers onto our physical campus. In my opinion, there is great wisdom in creating multiple ways people assemble at your church besides Sunday morning. Is your building remaining unoccupied during the week? What can you do to invite your city to your church? Get people in the habit of looking for your church.
We have no idea how many people came to our church on Sunday afternoon. A conservative guess would be 300 people. It was so much fun to see our people excited. I loved seeing all the children in their costumes and interacting with their parents. It blessed my heart to hear parents thanking us for the food and putting on the event. It was a very good Sunday.
Pastor, Christmas is just around the corner. What are you doing to meet the needs of your community? What types of things can you do to get your people excited for gospel connections? Our church loves Christmas. Here are a few ideas we are doing around our church this Christmas Season.
a. Middle School Hoodie and Shoe drive. In the past, we have collected hoodies and shoes for one of the middle schools. This year they contacted us and asked if we would be willing to do it again.
b. St Francis Christmas gifts for foster children. We are adopting 50 foster children this Christmas and will purchase Christmas gifts for them.
c. Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes – We are collecting boxes from our people and will act as a drop-off point.
d. Christmas Eve Cup of Cheer distribution. After our Christmas Eve service, our people will grab a Christmas Cup with packets of tea and hot chocolate and distribute them around Salina to people who are working on Christmas Eve.
Pastor, I don’t give you that list to make you feel guilty, but to encourage you to consider ways this Christmas you can get your people on mission with God and bless the city God has planted you in. Get creative. Get other people involved. By chance, have you noticed that Christmas will fall on a Sunday in 2022? How can we leverage next Christmas for God’s glory and other people’s good? You can’t wait until Thanksgiving of 2022 to begin to plan.
Have you planned anything yet for Christmas 2021? It’s not too late. What if you think of one thing? The Christmas Eve distribution is very doable. If you have a question about how to go about doing it, let me know. I’d be more than happy to share my thoughts. Do something this Christmas. It will get your people excited. It fulfills your call as a church. You will practically meet needs in Jesus’ name, and you will let people in your city know you are there and you care. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Before you leave the blog, let me know what your church is doing for outreach. My guess is we can learn from each other. If you have questions, feel free to ask.