Community running events, which often draw thousands of participants, can provide churches with creative and relevant opportunities to serve and be a visible presence in the community. Check websites to find local races, contact organizers to learn how your church can get involved, and connect with both runners and spectators in five easy ways:
1. Organize a running club and train for the race, giving people the opportunity to invite co-workers, friends from the gym, etc., to join the group.
2. Sponsor a team, and outfit runners and workers with team shirts.
3. Provide a relief station along the race route. Pass out custom water bottles, quick cups of water for serious runners and portable water dishes for family pets.
4. Shoot photos of groups before, during and after the race. Provide cards directing them to your church website to download pictures free of charge.
5. Offer to be the cleanup crew and pick up debris, clean bathrooms, etc.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2010 issue of Outreach magazine.