17 Summer Outreach Tips

You can stimulate personal evangelism—or at the very least raise awareness of the need—by weaving these 17 easy-to-implement ideas into your preaching and teaching:

1. Map the neighbors. In church one Sunday, ask the congregation to sketch maps of their immediate neighbors (those on either side and the three houses across the street). Encourage members to reach out to their neighbors who don’t know Christ yet. 

2. Pray when you pass a cult meeting place. Urge the congregation to pay attention to the Kingdom Halls and Mormon Stakes on their regular commute, and then to say a quick prayer that the people therein would hear and believe the gospel.

3. Team with another couple for a summer neighborhood Bible study. Have the congregation team up to invite neighbors to a six-week dinner and “investigation” about the evidence for the reliability of the Christian message. Be sure to recommend a resource they can use!

4. Throw a “Know Your Neighbors” BBQ. Most folks in the congregation won’t really know their neighbors. If each family in your church will host a “Know Your Neighbors BBQ” on a Sunday afternoon, a lot of connections will be made. At each gathering, each family or neighbor will give a very short “story” about who they are. Include a short testimony of faith, but keep it low key.

5. Host a “garage giveaway.” Have three or four families from the church team up to have a garage sale. But instead of selling the items, give them away along with a Gospel of John book or a gospel tract.

6. Plan a backyard VBS. Move vacation Bible study out of the church campus. Stage it in various homes around the community. That way your church members will learn which families are concerned for their children’s welfare and can offer additional service and invitation directly to them.

7. Have a B.Y.O.S. cookout for the co-workers. The folks that work in office settings or in the trades can invite their colleagues to a “bring your own steak” party. The host provides the grill, charcoal, all the rest of the dinner and drink items, and the tableware. The visitors each bring their own item for the grill. (Anything that involves meat and fire is usually of interest to the male of the species.)

8. Get pizza delivered for the construction crew down the street. If your parishioners live in developing subdivisions, they can bless the construction crews by having fresh pizza delivered to them at lunch time.

9. Target the new neighbors. Ask the members to keep their eyes open for houses under construction and for moving vans. On move-in day, they can introduce themselves with a list of schools, churches and shopping in the area, along with contact information for the police and emergency services. Be sure to throw a brochure from the church in the mix!

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Bud Brown is the president of Transition Ministries Group. He has served churches in a variety of settings, from small rural congregations to mid-sized urban churches to one of the fastest growing megachurches in the U.S. Bud is a graduate of Dallas Seminary (Th. M., 1986) and Western Seminary (D. Min., 1995). He and his wife, Lea, live in Tucson, Arizona where Bud spends most of his days lounging by the pool in their back yard.

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