7 Servant Evangelism Ideas for Black Friday Shopping Crowds

Black Friday Shopping Evangelism

In the United States, the Friday after Thanksgiving is a major shopping day.  The media will show reports of Black Friday shopping crowds outside of major department stores and malls.  People who are waiting to be nearly the first in line to get the savings on Christmas presents for family and friends.  When the doors open, mayhem erupts and people get injured as crowds stampede through the open doors.  Corporations are now beginning to open on Thanksgiving Day to allow people to shop after the big meal.

I’m not a big fan of that scene, but the waiting lines that happen in your city or town can give your church an opportunity for a servant evangelism project.

Servant Evangelism Ideas on Black Friday

Servant evangelism is a simple way to market your church’s Christmas outreaches after Thanksgiving has passed.

On the simplest level, servant evangelism is marketing your church.  It involves some form of giveaway that meets a need, with an attached card that gives information about your church.

These servant evangelism ideas are useful any time of year, but post Thanksgiving and Black Friday crowds at malls present a natural crowd that you can bless.

Your act of kindness can build the bridge for the person to receive a touch of love from God.  You are showing the community that your church cares and does not exist only for itself.

Add a invitation to church—even a simple card  with your church’s name, phone number and times of services.   They might come and hear more about Jesus during the Christmas season.  You can add a comment that your church wants to bless the community, showing God’s love, with no strings attached.

Be Prepared before Black Friday for Evangelism moments.

ShareTheGospelYour act of kindness is not sufficient for people to hear the gospel.

They might not even know that you are serving “in His Name” unless you somehow share that.

The gospel does need words to accompany the good deeds.

But attentive volunteers will recognize the nudge of the Holy Spirit in some interactions.

Those conversation can turn evangelistic with a gospel sharing moment, or maybe even a prayer moment.

Remind your volunteers to watch for those moments and be equipped with conversation skills.

A Side Note:

Always obey the rules of your locality, and know that you may need to secure permission of owners if you are on private property.   For example, your local mall may be considered private property and security may not allow you to bless the people who have gathered.  You’ll have to learn ahead of time what boundaries are in place and make sure you obey them.

7 simple Black Friday Evangelism Ideas.

These 7 servant evangelism ideas for Black Friday can be used at other times of the year, but this would make a natural gathering for your volunteers to participate in these ideas

  1. Coffee with sugar and cream available.  Be careful with the hot coffee.
  2. Water Bottles
  3. Prepackaged snack like raisins, trail mix, granola bars (go peanut free).
  4. Hot Chocolate
  5. Donut Giveaway
  6. Candies
  7. Popcorn

Prepare some kind of connection card that gives information about your church, the church website, and service times.

For more servant evangelism ideas, consider the book Outflow, Steve Sjogren and David Ping

Is your church doing any Thanksgiving Outreach?

If so, please share in the comments.  Give a brief overview and if you have a page on your church website that explains it, feel free to link to it.

What is the Next Step after Your Halloween Outreach

fallharvestpartyIn my first church, we chose October 31 as a safe alternative to Halloween.  We planned all sorts of children’s games, candy giveaway, costume contest, and all around fun.   We mobilized lots of volunteers to run the games and our small church had a tremendous party every year.

Our Harvest Party (we called it) celebrated some of the fun traditions of Halloween, without the scary costumes and without the occult overtones associated with the date.

More and more churches will choose a Halloween Outreach to open up their doors and provide their community a safe alternative to knocking on doors.  You might have done the same.  You hope that residents in your community will bring their children to enjoy an awesome night of fun.

If you host only church families and have not made your community aware of this, then you need to change your plans and find last minute ways to get the word out about your Halloween alternative or Harvest Party.

If you are not thinking about reaching your community and using this event in your church, then you need to open up your hearts to your community.  Your church is too inward focused.

Are you preparing for guests at Halloween?

Are members of your planning team thinking of church hospitality issues to welcome your visitors during your Halloween Outreach?

Are your facilities ready?

Are your volunteers ready?

  • Have you recast a vision to connect with the stranger who will come?
  • Have you reminded people to be friendly with people they don’t know?
  • Are your volunteers ready to make small talk with all the visitors?

What will your guest experience that night at your Halloween Outreach?

Will your church members take the initiative to make meaningful small talk and make a connection?

Or will your church members simply let them be?  That’s a nice way of saying “Ignore them.”

Have fun and offer ministry

Consider setting up a prayer station as one of the booths.  Offer prayer ministry with people and families that might seek it out.

Equip your prayer booth with literature about the church and promotional items about the next sermon series.

Have appropriately trained prayer ministers there to offer prayer with those who seek it out.

You might have the chance to talk with people in a safe 1-1 context about their faith journey, so be sure your ministry leaders are equipped to talk with people about what it means to follow Jesus.

Maybe in some localities, it might be possible to finish the night with a bonfire.  You can sing a few songs and share a short  non-pushy devotional about being a follower of Jesus.  Check with your local area about rules for bonfires.

What happens next?

One thing that our church failed to do when I was there was to use this Harvest Party to invite people to a meaningful sermon series the following Sunday.  We invited people to church, but I don’t recall anyone coming back.

As I have reflected on that problem, I have come to realize that people have important stuff to do on Sunday.  Their stuff is more important than attending our church (after all, they don’t go to church).

If we can present a sermon series that starts the following Sunday that would be important to them, then there is a greater likelihood that they will rearrange their schedule and come.

Over and over, I have seen in my own life that when I invite people to a new sermon series, I have better success than a simple invitation to church.  The sermon series answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”

Use your Halloween Community outreach to promote your new Sunday Sermon series and maybe even some of your Thanksgiving and Christmas programming.

The point is, plan ahead and create a “Come Back” event that your visitor might consider rearranging their Sunday schedule to attend.

Prepare for your Halloween Outreach

Your hospitality needs to shine during your Halloween Outreach.  A good welcome experience will increase the likelihood of attending your next sermon series.  Your guests should experience a good welcome when they come on Sunday as well.

I’ve put an ebook together to help you review your hospitality systems in preparation for your Halloween Outreach and your comeback event.  It’s good for all seasons of the church year.  You might want to acquire your copy to prepare for your Christmas and Thanksgiving program.

Read more on How To Welcome Church Visitors

Are you reaching out to this demographic?

These statistics are a few years old, but nonetheless, what is your church doing to reach this demographic?

I admit, I am a little biased.  I do ministry full time among developing leaders in Central America.

God has given me a love for this culture that is just as passionate as my own North American Culture.

I am bi-lingual, and my children are going up bi-lingual.

What is your church doing to reachout to this demongraphic?

One common response is denial or ignorance.

People in your congregation may choose not to accept the reality of this growing population segment.  They may not realize that even some of their own members might be in this group as second or third generation.

Because I work cross culturally, I see this bias and ignorance all the time.   When we chose to watch a Gold Cup game streamed by Univision, my friends asked, “Are they speaking Mexican?”

Another response is focused on politics and nationalism.

I have been chided because I do not hang an American flag in my house.  I have been chided for living in a country that is not the United States.

I have been in heated arguments over immigration and legal status of human beings.

I am proud of where I live, and proud of my roots in America.  I love serving the Lord in Central America.

This population segment is one that still needs to hear of the love of Jesus Christ, regardless of their national origin.  They are here, and the church can reach out and serve.

What is a healthy response?

It will take creative thinking on the part of churches that intentionally notice the demographic shift around them.

In what ways has your church responded?

Christmas Outreach through Public Schools

I heard about this Christmas 2012 Church outreach from 12 Stone Church.


Even small churches can adopt a school and do something similar.

I don’t go to 12Stone Church, but found myself wanting to volunteer, or even dream about doing something like this with my church next year.

It’s a great community engagement step that even the small church could do with one school.

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching a Community Via a Coffeehouse

The Evangelism Office in the Presbyterian Church USA (which is my tribe) is putting out some videos on churches doing innovative things to reach into their community.

Check this one out:

I’m impressed with their strategy of Business as Mission, but using their coffeehouse to not only provide job, but a gathering space in the community that includes worship.

One question that some will ask: “Is this church?”

I believe it is accomplishing the mission of the church – to make disciples.