“An outward-focused family, that exists to connect, grow and serve,” that’s how the members of The Pentecostals of Kentwood would describe their church. A key part of the growth of this thriving church is the focus on servant evangelism. What is servant evangelism? It’s the act of kindness to those around us, showing them the love of Christ. This type of evangelism opens the door for discussions about the Gospel, immediate prayer for individual needs and invitations to church.
One of the churches recent efforts this year is a campaign called, “Hug Grand Rapids.” The congregation buys bags of Hershey’s Hugs, thousands of ziplock snack bags and confetti. Then combine them along with a nicely designed business card with the “You’ve Been Hugged” graphic on the front.
“Over Valentine’s Day weekend, each person in our church distributes the hugs to people working in stores, restaurants and other places of service,” explains Bro. Jay Jones. “The intention is to bless those who are sacrificing their own time to make sure others have a good holiday.” This idea was birthed as an opportunity to teach the young church how simple outreach can be. The results have been incredible! Not only did the church turn into an outreach machine, but the feedback is so positive that it has been a wonderful challenge to keep up with. An extra plus to this is sometimes real hugs are given from the grateful people they’ve had the privilege to bless!
“Each card is tied to a website that I created called www.hugGrandRapids.com where visitors can send virtual hugs to people they care about. The site in turn has a link to our church website, further promoting our church,” states Pastor Jones. “ This has been an annual event for our church for several years, and we’ve become known in our community for the outreach. It’s also successful for us as an ongoing ministry throughout the year.”
In addition to the “Hug Grand Rapids” outreach, there are many other servant evangelism opportunities available to the members. These range from Laundromat outreach cards (we give four quarters to people who are doing their laundry along with a card that reads, hope this helps lighten your load!), gas buy-down cards, free coffee cards, free meal cards, hospital outreach cards and more. In each of these methods the idea is simple, to give a small gift card to an individual as a simple way of saying, “God loves you!”
As with the “Hug” outreach cards, the graphics we use for all our cards are freely available to any church that would like to use them for outreach. They may all be obtained from the resources section of PreachingPoints.com, where many other opportunities and ideas can be found.