At the chapel where we gather with the church, we have been trying to find new ways to do outreach to the community. We have been sponsoring a movie night periodically and the youth and some adults are going door to door in the surrounding neighborhood to invite people. Our building is very small and doesn’t really look like a church from the road. One person said at the last movie night that she thought it was a small apartment building! So we are really ramping up our efforts at getting the word out that we are there and welcome people to the chapel.
My concern is that most people have been so marketed to all of their lives that they are leery and suspicious. Just about every local church does outreach and much of it is “Come to our church and do *insert activity here*!” So amidst the barrage of stuff they get from various groups, here is our little assembly trying to draw them in. We met as a group last night after prayer and Bible study to talk about how the outreach is going and I suggested we try going out to people, right where they are, to minister to them. Maybe they need help with trimming or raking leaves in the fall, maybe they are moving in and need some help. It is easier and cleaner and safer to invite people to our building but I think it might be more effective to just help people where they need help, whether it is tangible or just friendship and prayer. It can be uncomfortable to go to a strange place, even or especially a church. Having someone come in jeans and a sweatshirt to help you out? That is a lot easier for folks. It is a little odd in our assembly because we don’t have a pastor, so instead of deferring to him to figure it out, we are figuring it out on our own.
Has anyone else tried something like this? We are not interested in marketing strategies, we are interested in service strategies. Have you gone out to the community, what are the pitfalls (like becoming permanent unpaid lawn care!), what seemed to work?