Outreach & Witnessing

Servant Saturday

Our youth group held a ‘Servant Saturday’. We made arrangements with the older (80 +) people in our church and we assigned an adult and 2-3 teens to each house who wanted help and we worked for 2-3 hours at each place. We did whatever job needed to be done. This was as much a blessing to the youth as the seniors.

Sharing Children’s Books

Plan to visit a children’s hospital, children’s home, day care centre or Christian centre in your area. In advance, meet with the appropriate person at the location to plan your eventual visit with the youth group. Tell your youth group members about the upcoming visit and ask them to select one of their favourite books from childhood. At the location, they will be grouped with one or more children. They will read and discuss the book together. After the story time they will donate the books to the organization. Church members may donate books if necessary. Let the kids become familiar with the book ahead of time so they can read it with enthusiasm. Once the books are chosen, ask them to bring them to the youth group meeting and ask the following questions about each book: 1.) How are values presented? 2.) Who are the heroes in the story? What does the book teach us about heroes? What is the symbolism of the story? etc….

Shopping Cart Scavenger Hunt

Send your kids on the most unforgettable shopping trip they’ve ever been on. And help the needy in your area at the same time. Contact a local food bank ahead of time to learn what items it needs most. Then make a “grocery list” of 15 to 20 of the items. Get permission to borrow shopping carts from a local grocery store. Form teams of no more than four. Give each team a shopping cart and a grocery list. Have teams go door-to-door in search of the items on the list. Award a pizza to the first team to return with its shopping completed. When everyone is back. have a discussion about giving. Use Deut 15:7-10; Prov 25:21; Matt 10:42; 22:34-40; Acts 2-:35; Romans 12:6-13; and 2 Cor 9:6-9 as discussion starters. Then go together to take the food kids collected to the local food bank.

Socks for Dad

Idea for Father’s Day that was done in our church:

Send a letter to all the dad’s in the surrounding community inviting them to church on Father’s Day. In the letter/package, include 1 dress sock. State in the letter that in order to retrieve the matching dress sock, they must be there for the morning service on Father’s Day. Just a neat little thing to do for Dads and it might actually get some to come to church that normally wouldn’t.

Supplies for the Homeless

We do this in the fall, and have people bring donated items in October. First, we contact area homeless shelters to see what they need, and then put out the request. We were hoping to get a box or two to each one, and ended up making several trips! Second, be specific in what you are requesting. One easy way to specify for items that will help those on the street in the winter is for people to thinking of what they would take camping. We had a ton of clothes come in, but only 1 box worth of dress clothes and a few summer items that we are going to take this spring. The dress clothes went to a battered women’s shelter.

Here is what we suggested:
sleeping bags, backpacks and duffle bags, coats (not fancy – that puts the homeless at risk for being robbed), shoes for walking, new underwear/socks, sweatshirts and longsleeve knit shirts, jeans and casual pants. We also accepted toiletries and food items. It is very important to find out what each shelter wants ahead of time, how items need to be delivered, and when someone can deliver the items. No two shelters operated alike, and they each had different needs. I know that the workers were surprised to see that we were actually bringing in needed items. The week we delivered the items, the weather had just turned cold in the evenings, and I know that the sleeping bags were quickly put to use!

The Season Servants

Adapt this idea to fit your climate and the time of year. Gather a group of interested and dedicated youth and adults who want to reach out to others by caring for their yards. Offer your service to widows, single parents or needy families in your church or community. Set a day and time to come to their house. FALL: Bring rakes and leaf blowers to tidy yards. Bring brooms to sweep out gutters. WINTER: Bring shovels to clear off snowy sidewalks and rock salt to spread on icy steps and porches. SPRING: Plant flowers and wash windows. SUMMER: Mow and water lawns. Help each youth member and adult develop a green thumb he/she can be proud of. If families want to donate money to the team, give the money to an outreach or service organization.

Topsy Turkey

This Thanksgiving, don’t just collect Spam and generic green beans for Thanksgiving. Challenge your youth to collect one turkey for every member and donate it to the local food pantry or mission for Thanksgiving. Select leaders from each age group or Sunday School class and have them publicize and lead the effort. Make them responsible for X number of turkeys as they rally their peers and the adults of the church to donate turkeys. Publicize this effort in the local newspapers as well.

Toy Give Away

We did this in NYC a few weeks before Christmas. We collected thousands of toys and took them to a church in NYC. All night we sorted 25,000 toys to give away the next day to families who couldn’t afford to buy their children Christmas gifts. The following morning we headed out early and gave out tracts in English and Spanish telling about the free toy drive. Thousands of people came. As they waited we gave them free hot chocolate and candy canes with the salvation message attached to it. That trip was one of the biggest blessings in my life. Helping other people changed my life.

Trunk or Treat

On Hallowe’en night have people from your church decorate the trunks of their vehicles with decorations and candy. When the children come by, give them candy and a Gospel tract telling them how they can receive Jesus as their personal Savior. You may want to advertise Youth Events and the times of services.

Veteran’s Luncheon

Hold a luncheon to honor Veterans for their service to our country. Find out who in the church (or can be expanded to include your community) is a Veteran of the service. Several weeks before the event, send invitations inviting them and a guest to the luncheon. On the day of the luncheon, play military music or songs from the war era. For the menu, fix Hero sandwiches and have coleslaw or chips. Have the youth make the food and serve the food and drinks, and then clean up when done eating. Decorate the room you hold the luncheon in with patriotic decorations. Have people bring in pictures, old uniforms, etc. of their days in the service. Following the meal, have some of the youth perform a little program by singing a patriotic song, reciting a poem, etc. Have a time for the Veterans to tell a story of something they experienced while serving. Then close the luncheon by thanking our “heroes” for their service to our country and their part in helping make this nation free and great. This works well around Veteran’s Day. It is a great way to help bridge the gap between older adults and the youth. Keep in mind, that for many of the Veterans, this will be a very emotional time, but it will be something that they will always remember.

Weekly Outreach Event

Christ had a balanced ministry. At times He taught the disciples, mentoring them. Other times, he would teach to the multitudes. We seek to have that same balance between discipling and reaching out. To do this, we have a weekly outreach event called YAK (Youth Activities Knight). It is extremely low-maintenance and yet high impact.

You tell your kids up front that it is an evening designed for their unchurched friends, with only a short devotion. The teens bring snacks, drinks, and friends. All you have to do is provide the program. We usually do stupid games, $5 challenges, dumb songs, snack time, a crazy rendition of Craig Kilborn’s 5 Questions with questions like “Who is cuter? ET or Yoda?” Then at the end of the evening, a short devo and snack time takes place. It’s awesome because it gives your teens an open opportunity to bring their friends to a comfortable environment, plus it’s low maintenance for you. Your sponsors love it too, because they just get to have fun, laugh with the teens, and spend time getting to know them better. Our youth group has grown ever since we instated this program.

Youth Video Ministry

I came up with the idea that youth groups and their churches could run a small film club or ministry. In that, the kids would shoot, direct, act, edit, etc., they’re own films. This would be a great learning experience for them and would make their youth group more fun, exciting and meaningful. It would also help the kids connect with the rest of the church when they show their movie to their church, and also when other church members help in the making of their movie. The movies that the kids would make would of course be Christian movies that would help edify the church and preach the Gospel, the eternal message of Jesus! Youths could make documentaries, dramas, action/adventure movies, worship videos and much more. It could reach out to so many people and be used for many different things. The films could be used for fundraising, community outreaches, mission trips, documenting church activities such as retreats, or even interviewing different church members for they’re testimonies of how they came to know God. The uses and advantages for starting a film or video ministry with young people is endless. Also, the cost for such an undertaking is quite low. An inexpensive camcorder and a simple editing system is all one needs to start the ministry. For more info check out Warriors of Truth at http://www.geocities.com/~warrioroftruth or email me at warrioroftruth@webtv.net.