Last Saturday our church gave away free bottles of water as people stopped at the light in front of our church. Perhaps your church has done this too. But this was our first time, so we are in a learning mode.
Our church has a great location and is visible from a major road in our town, and we wanted to reach out to the more than 90% of our community that does not go to church anywhere. If your church is exploring its demographics, they are quite revealing. It's not that United Methodist are a minority, it's all Christian churches. And we, like many places, have a church on most every corner. Most of these unchurched folks will not come to us, so we figured that passing out free water would be a nonthreatening way to help people to at least notice. And who doesn't drink bottled water or like free?
As you might expect, many people were wary of (especially) men. Getting people to open their car windows and accept our gift was not easy. That is until a couple of small kids joined the group. It helps that they are cute. One is 6 and the other is 8, but their presence made all the difference. They stood with their mom and the boom began. People not only stopped but asked questions and thanked us. All the bottles were gone quickly.
Were our efforts successful? Yes, but with our children present and helping, the message was significantly different and more easier accepted. Jesus was right. Little children do lead us.
If your church is looking to find ways to reach out to the 90% who are unchurched, giving away bottled water is a good way to start. But including children will not only help your efforts, but they will inspire the rest of your congregation.
How are things going in your church? In what ways is your church serving and helping to usher in the Kingdom?