Summer vacation is nearly upon us, for some ministries that means a break from weekly ministry, but for us it means continuing on and adding in more outreach events. This Friday will kick off the first of a monthly movie nights series that will run through the summer for my ministry. We'll be showing faith based films and having a short discussion afterwards. But before we get to Friday, we'll be having some small group discussions about sharing our faith, and about those in our lives we would like to share it with.
So we're employing these strategies:
Divide and conquer: Instead of telling students to invite ALL of their friends, I'm asking them to think about, and pray about one person in particular that they can invite to this event. Some may bring a whole bunch, if so that's great! If not, that's great!
Lay some ground work: Tonight in our small groups we'll discuss our friends who we are inviting, and share some of their interests and activities, so everyone in the group will know just a little about each visitor before they come in the door and can start a conversation with them right away! We're not here to gossip about them, just to share about how cool our friends are!
Pray: We will then spend some time praying for our friends, that they would be open to attending a movie night (even one hosted by a youth group) and that the Holy Spirit would prompt them to do so.
Connect: When it's time for the event we will make our best efforts to connect with visitors and make them feel welcomed and at home!
Winning: Before you can judge whether an event was successful or not you need to know what your goals are. In this case the goal of the event is to bring in some students help them feel welcomed, and plant some seeds through the movie and a short discussion, and questions about it. And lastly invite them to a Wednesday service, where we answer more questions like the ones raised tonight.
I've heard of other ministries using similar strategies to reach out to their communities with fairly good results. I'll keep you posted on how this works for us.
How do you strategize for outreach?