I have been leading my church over the last year in a new outreach direction termed, “Servant Evangelism”, where we endeavor to bless our communities with the love of Christ without asking anything in return. Often, churches are perceived as constantly having their hand out asking for things, and we want to turn that perception upside down. Jesus said the second-greatest commandment is that you love your neighbor as yourself… and that’s what we’re attempting to do.
One way of accomplishing this is by way of *Care-Packs*, which are small gift-bags filled with snacks and goodies. Once you get the concept, you can use it in virtually any situation where you see the need.
h2. Where can they be used?
We have currently used Care Packs in our local malls, and the largest hospital in our city. The key is to fill a need.
For a mall outreach, focus on the workers on either a busy weekend or a holiday. Often on a holiday, people are working in the malls servicing others while they’re wishing they could be enjoying their holiday too. Care-Packs show them our appreciation for sacrificing their time to bless others. Also, they can get so busy that they have no time to stop and eat, so the Care-Packs give them a chance to grab a quick snack on the go. These gestures are REALLY appreciated!
Probably the most impactful Care-Pack outreach we do is going to the hospital in our city and taking Care-Packs to all of the waiting rooms where people are waiting for loved ones. This is a great time to show them love in a time of need, and to pray with people. I’m telling you… this is an incredible way to touch a life, because it’s appreciated. The gift bag just opens up the door for you to minister to them.
Opportunities abound for this sort of outreach. Begin to brainstorm of ways and places that just a small gesture would impact someone’s life. Perhaps it would be at the voting booths during election time while people are forced to wait in line. Maybe on the morning after Thanksgiving while people are freezing and hungry while in line for the early-bird deals? Possibly on a busy street corner in your city while people are walking to work? I’m sure if you give it some thought, you can think of plenty of opportunities.
h2. How are they Made?
When our church assembles Care-Packs, we simply fill small gift bags with a few breath-mints, granola bar, lollipop, candy bar, Hershey’s Kisses and a bit of string-confetti. Then, we close the bag and attach a church outreach card to it which has a friendly saying similar to, “This is our simple way of saying God loves you… let us know if we can be of more assistance.”
We started out using paper bags the size of a lunch-bag, and attached the card with a paper clip… but we then started purchasing colored, cellophane gift bags and sealing them with with a twist-tie. We punch holes in the corner of our outreach cards, and attach them to the bags.
The important things with Care Packs is to make sure they are well-done and professional looking. By “right-clicking here”:http://www.apostolicliving.com/images/stories/downloads/care_pack.jpg, or on the outreach card below and choosing “save link as…”, you can download a high-res version of the card I designed for our church. It’s generic, so you can use it in your ministry as well.
We print our own cards on an inkjet printer using double-sided business cards from an Office Supply store. On the front is the following graphic, and on the back we include our church’s logo, name, service times, website, and map to our church.
We use the assembly-line approach when making our bags, and generally do an outreach of 100 to 300 bags at a time.
If you have any questions about this type of outreach, or if you try it at your church, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment in our forums and share your thoughts.
God bless you!