by Diana Davis
Could this statement describe your church's plan for evangelism?
"There's a lost world that needs to know about Jesus. If they'll come inside our church, we'll tell them about him."
Oops! Missed the first word of Jesus' Great Commission! He instructed his followers to "Go." Why not plan for intentional event evangelism? Be a witness to your town by organizing events and participating in community events. Take a look at your community and the talents of your church members, and creatively share Jesus. Need some fresh ideas to get started?
Begin a new citywide tradition on your church property, and share Christ in a unique way. Plan a gigantic first-day-of-spring kite-flying contest, a city-wide Easter egg hunt each Saturday before Easter, a July 4th fireworks display, or a huge snowman-building contest on the first snow holiday. How about a walking tour through a recreated city of Bethlehem to find Jesus, or a children's nativity scene? Or a monthly city-wide breakfast for students, singles, men, or women? Get creative. Demonstrate Christian joy. And share Jesus with strangers.
What's your town's biggest community event? Be there! Volunteer to set up a stage and sound, and provide live quality Christian music. Rent a prime-location booth for the specific purpose of sharing Christ in a unique way. For hot weather, rent or design a walk-through water mister, with a sign reading "Worship at First Baptist is even more refreshing than this. See you Sunday!" Offer free face paint or apply temporary cross tattoos, and chat with kids' parents about Jesus.
Distribute hundreds of imprinted helium balloons or foam hats or plastic fans. Print popcorn bags with church info. Wear church t-shirts, pull wagons full of iced water, carry a "free water" sign, and pass out bottled water and church brochures. Wear signboards advertising an upcoming event.
Let's do lunch
One of our church's largest and most effective evangelism events was the quarterly ladies' luncheons. Predictably gorgeous and precisely timed so working women could attend, it provided an unintimidating method of sharing Christ, and members enthusiastically brought unsaved acquaintances. The inspirational speaker's topic related specifically to women, and always included the plan of salvation. Ladies were invited to mark a star on the door prize form if they were interested in knowing more about becoming a Christian, and we immediately followed up.
Step into our yard
Invite the entire community to a live outdoor Christian concert on the church lawn or a walk-in family movie projected outdoors on a blank wall. How about an outdoor Christian art exhibit, a singles volleyball tournament, a homemade ice cream shindig or a Great Giveaway Garage Sale? Provide free popcorn and drinks, laugh and have fun, and share Christ with neighbors in a relaxed setting. Always display a large banner to invite onlookers to join in. Each guest should receive both verbal and written invitations to Sunday worship where event photos will be shown on pre-service visuals.
1st place float
Create a fabulous float for your town's annual parade. Almost any parade theme can be pointed toward God! An artistic church member designs it, dozens of members work to make it a reality, and your church is exposed to lost people you'd never touch otherwise. Add an evangelistic touch with walkers or skaters alongside the float, distributing candies with your church logo, invitations to your church, and talking with people in the crowd. Challenge each walker to share a testimony with at least one onlooker.
Unique parade performance
For a fun way to get a presence in the town's parade, decorate a flatbed beautifully, and feature preschoolers performing their favorite choreographed VBS song, an animated teen praise band or kazoo band, a senior adult kitchen band, or a children's Scripture shout group. The well-rehearsed performance should point onlookers to Christ. Parades are for fun. Share some Christian joy!
Bible briefcase brigade
A unique performing group takes preparation, but it could steal the parade. Organize a kids' Bible drill team, a teen's funky "sticks" routine to a Christian CD, or a moms' stroller squad. It's light and fun, and it points to God. The performance team dresses alike, marches in cadence, and performs a 30 second perfectly choreographed routine each block of the parade. Additional walkers distribute invitations to the crowd.
For example, your businessmen's Bible Briefcase Brigade is made of men wearing sunglasses, red ties, and dark suits. Each carries a black briefcase with a cross on the side. They march in close-knit, military style and rehearse precision movements. At one point in their routine, they pop open the briefcase (Deal or No Deal-style) to reveal a message or a Bible. Their tongue-in-cheek performance points to the cross, and invitations are distributed to viewers for your church's men's Bible study or breakfast.
Perhaps your entire town is standing in line to get into your church doors. If they're not, review Matthew 28:19, especially the first word.
This article has been adapted from Diane Davis' book, Fresh Ideas: 1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving and Energetic Church.