Maybe your church hosts the best Easter-egg hunt in town. But what do you do if everyone heads to the church across the street or around the block because it does the most awesome Easter-egg extravaganza? Right after you fall on your knees to thank God for how he’s using the other congregation to reach your community, start planning an alternate outreach that your church can take on this Easter season. Here are 10 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Easter Baskets—Skip the hunt for candy eggs and instead distribute baskets door to door in your church’s neighborhood. Or prepare the baskets a day or two earlier and deliver them to businesses in your local community. Include a simple Easter card with the name and contact information of your church.
2. Flower Seeds—Give away a symbol of new life by distributing personalized flower seed packets in your neighborhood, at a busy shopping district, or even after a local sporting event. Have your church’s name, contact information, and a brief Easter greeting printed on the seed packets. Just fire up your favorite Internet search engine and enter “personalized flower seeds” to do some price-comparison shopping.
3. Food Drive—This one’s easy. A lot of individuals and organizations donate to community food banks during the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season. But people who can’t afford groceries are hungry at all times of the year. Simply ask church members to bring nonperishable food items to a drop-off spot in the church foyer, and then haul it all to a local food pantry. Encourage money gifts too, as many food banks can purchase in bulk to round out what they give away.
4. Soup Kitchen—Another easy one. Gather a group of volunteers from your church to spread a little resurrection joy at a local soup kitchen. Challenge church members to staff the meal-providing organization for a day or a week.
5. Easter Photos—This is a great addition to another activity—for example, if your church does host a successful Easter-egg hunt. Set up a spring-like backdrop of flowers and greenery (if God hasn’t provided a natural one), recruit a volunteer photographer, and take free family photos. When you e-mail them their picture, include info about your church.
6. Film Discussion—The Passion of the Christ video provides a unique discussion topic in homes in various neighborhoods represented by your congregation. Rent copies of the movie and provide discussion guides for leaders and hosts. InterVaristy offers a free downloadable discussion guide at http://www.intervarsity.org/gfm/resource/debriefing-after-the-passion-of-the-christ. If you’re a very brave (and very knowledgeable) pastor, try Plan B. Show the film at your church and hold a Q-and-A session afterward. Be sure to provide an alternative activity for children, and even some teenagers, who need to be spared the graphic nature of the film.
7. Easter Luncheon—On a lighter note, adopt a low-income or retiree apartment building or complex in your community and put on an Easter feast for the tenants. Recruit volunteers to cook and serve, and others who can just mingle with the diners a bit.
8. Message of Hope—Distribute copies of these selected Scriptures from The Message to homes in your church neighborhood. Purchase with bulk discounts at https://www.navpress.com/product/9781576832936/The-Message-of-Hope-Eugene-H-Peterson. You can take this another step by offering follow-up discussion groups based on the booklets—a free study guide is available for download at http://www.navpress.com/uploadedFiles/Product_Downloads/MessageoHopeStudyGuide.pdf.
9. Block Party—In addition to free food, offer live music, face painting, balloon animals, and games. If you can draw in kids from your church neighborhood, chances are their parents will tag along for a free burger or brat too.
This article “Outreach Ideas” by Dale Felpes was excerpted from: ww.outreachmag.com. January 2010. This article may be used for study & research purposes only.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”