We know that the holiday season is a prime opportunity to connect with our community. Often our outreach energy is directed towards events that ask them (the community) to come to us (the church). What are some things that we can participate in that allow us to go meet those in the community who can also use our help? Here’s a couple of things to get the ideas flowing…And if you have a good idea to share about what your church does, please leave it in the comments!
Angel Tree Outreach by Prison Fellowship | https://www.prisonfellowship.org/about/angel-tree
Angel Tree is a program of Prison Fellowship that connects parents in prison with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts. In most cases, local church volunteers purchase and deliver gifts and the Gospel to children in the name of their prisoner-parent. Many churches make an annual commitment to this highly rewarding program, and recognize it as a way to care for some of the most overlooked members of our communities, continuing to connect with these families through the year.
Comfort In a Box | http://www.comfortinabox.com/ (also on Facebook)
Founded by Foursquare pastor Michelle Hoefflin, Comfort In A Box is an organization that provides a little “Comfort” for each mom during her stay at one of the Southern California Ronald McDonald Houses. Each box of comfort contains a blanket, a pair of slippers and a bottle of all natural lavender lotion. The Ronald McDonald Houses provide a safe, welcoming and warm home-away-from-home for families with seriously ill children receiving treatment at a nearby medical facility. Churches can host a “Box Party” supplying and assembling the items and readying them for delivery. Churches can also participate in the delivery of the boxes to the appreciative caregivers.
Family Assistance Ministries Thanksgiving Dinner | https://www.family-assistance.org/events/about-fam-events#thanksgiving
FAM is one of many organizations that provides a Thanksgiving meal (along with one to go) to those who would go without in South Orange County, CA. This outreach not only serves those who are hungry, but also those who have no one to share the day with.
These are just a couple of examples. I hope you’ll post some ideas that might inspire others of us to take and extra step to connect with our community. It can be as simple as asking, “what is the need in our community?" Are there elderly folks who find themselves isolated and lonely in the holidays? Are there families who have a member chronically ill or facing a consuming challenge such as chemotherapy for cancer or dialysis? Maybe there are foster care kids in your areas that need to experience an expression of God’s love? Jesus came to us. Let’s live that way this holiday season by going out to our communities, and not simply settle for asking them to come to us.