8 tips for summer outreach


8 tips for summer outreach 
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Evansville,
Wis., celebrates July 4, 2012.

Summer is here and people are taking to the great outdoors for recreation, relaxation and community-sponsored events. Now is the time to let your neighbors know about your ministry and how your congregation contributes to the entire community.

Here are some ideas for reaching out to your neighbors this summer.

1. Host a mini-community festival at the end of your vacation Bible school week. Display the accomplishments, songs and crafts the kids have produced. Provide free hot dogs and soda, popcorn and inflatables and go out to the highways and byways inviting all.

2. Host a block party in your neighborhood! Ask non-members to help organize the event. This would also make for a good time to go door-to-door to meet, greet and invite your neighbors without the negative appearance of proselytizing.

3. Sponsor a booth at the local summer festival. Most communities host a carnival, taste or special event (e.g., Fourth of July events) during the months of July and August. Consider distributing free bottles of ice-cold water with your congregation’s information on a label that is easy to produce and affix.

4. Everyone loves a parade! In most communities individuals, families, schools, neighborhood groups and congregations are welcomed to take part in the community parade. Your congregation’s participation may be as extensive as building a float or as simple as having volunteers walk in the parade carrying a humble banner. Whatever your capacity, make sure to distribute information about your congregation, perhaps with crowd-pleasing goodies such as candy.

5. Distribute free sunscreen at local street fairs, festivals, youth sporting events, parks, beaches — attach information about your congregation to the bottle of sunscreen.

6. If your building is air-conditioned, why not open your doors as a cooling center during the sweltering summer months? Many people, especially those who are homeless or elderly, do not have access to a cool environment and are at risk for heat-related illnesses. Volunteers could help greet people and serve glasses of cold water or iced tea as refreshments.

7. Supply Fourth of July cards, with information about your congregation, to volunteers to pass out at parties, picnics, community gatherings, etc. The cards, which can be produced on your computer, could contain wishes for a “Happy Fourth” from your congregation.

8. July is National Ice Cream Month with the third Sunday of the month named National Ice Cream Day. After your Sunday service enlist volunteers to help pass out free treats around the town with your congregation’s contact and other information included.

You might also want to read:
Rethinking outreach
Evangelism is in the bag at Epiphany Lutheran
Of worship and picnics: 10 ideas for the great outdoors

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