Encourage families to purchase items and deliver them together, and to pray for the business on a continuing basis.
The River’s Edge, Iowa Falls, Iowa
Each month, The River’s Edge in Iowa Falls, Iowa, shows its local businesses that it means business about sharing God’s love. As part of an initiative the church coins “Business Blast,” members “adopt” local businesses, purchase small tokens of appreciation and then deliver them to business employees, along with a thank you note.
“I’m not sure what’s been the biggest benefit … the joy of the people receiving the items or of those delivering the items,” says the church’s Lead Pastor Carlton Anderson.
How to Do It:
— Visit your local Chamber of Commerce and request a listing of all businesses (including organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Elks Club, as well as service providers such as hospitals, fire departments and schools).
— Enlist volunteers to prepare envelopes for adoptive families. Each envelope (one for each available business) should include an idea sheet offering item suggestions—everything from home-baked cookies and popcorn to stress-relief toys and pens—as well as a thank you note. The River’s Edge’s thank you notes read: “We appreciate how you serve the community with your business. This is our simple way of sharing God’s love with you. Let us know if we can be of more assistance.” Be sure to provide your church’s contact information and service times.
Also included in The River’s Edge envelopes is a report card for participating families to fill out and return to the church, sharing their “Business Blast” experiences, and a $5 bill. No one can say they can’t participate for money reasons, says Anderson.
— Set up a table in the church lobby with a list of the available businesses people can adopt. The River’s Edge does this once a month. Ask people to adopt as many businesses as they’d like, and let them know they can adopt businesses that aren’t on the list, as well.
“Some people have even adopted former employers and had fun reconnecting with old friends,” says Anderson.
— Encourage families to purchase items and deliver them together, and to pray for the business on a continuing basis. As a church, pray for the blast to impact your community and share stories from the returned report cards.
Minimal cost for envelopes and thank you notes, and $5 for every business adopted. Families can then spend as much or as little as they wish on their adopted business.
With the help of 25 percent of its 120 regular attendees, The River’s Edge “blasted” 35 businesses in the first two months of the initiative, and hopes to blast all of the area’s businesses by the end of the year.
“We’re hearing more second-hand comments from people saying things like, ‘That church is really doing some nice things’ or ‘People ought to do that more often,’” says Anderson. “We intend to continue surprising people with the love of Jesus, as a steady cornerstone of our church ministry.”
—From Outreach magazine, July/August 2006