This past Sunday, Crossroads chose to serve our community rather than gather for worship. Jumping off an idea from Riverpoint Church in Newton, KS we elected to provide an event where we could care for them in a tangible manner by checking their vehicles for any needed maintenance, as well as washing and vacuuming them. This was a service that we wanted to provide to our community for free, and we marked on our ads that not only were we not charging, no donations would be accepted. (Several guests commented to me on that because they were accustomed to the typical bait and switch, but they had to see something that wouldn’t even accept donations.) We had almost the same number of people from Crossroads that we do any other Sunday while reaching out to more than 40 from our community.
I consider that a win.
Because of that – and questions from other pastors/church planters – I wanted to share with you what we did. But before I do, it’s important to know that serving our community is something we value at Crossroads. Just recently, we decided to not have any worship gathering quarterly in order to be in our community to serve. This was our first attempt at this since I came on as the lead pastor, but they had done this before, as well. This is important, because if your church doesn’t value serving the community, your people will not respond to your call for them to give something up in order to do it.
We chose to hold this event during the usual “church time” (11 AM – 1:30 PM) knowing that it would cut down on the overall attendance, but this was a strategic decision because we felt that this would best guarantee that the people we reached would be unchurched. We felt this was the best use of our efforts and resources.
Before the event, we hand delivered around 3500 flyers to homes in our community while also sending 500 home with every student from a local elementary school. It too about 10 teams of folks to knock it out in around 3 hours. We also ran an ad in the local paper, as well as facebook. It’s difficult to identify how many came from which advertisement source, but we are confident that each advertising “touch” will have a lasting effect even for those who did not attend, and that they would have Crossroads Friends Church in the back of their mind next time someone invites them to a worship experience.
We set up a parking lot where we could perform all maintenance checks and wash and vacuum while the cars remained in one place. This allowed the families of those in attendance to get out, relax, and enjoy a free hamburger, chips, and a bottled water while we also provided some festival fun for the kids. We had face-painting, temporary tattoos, hair coloring spray, a kiddie pool, slip and slide, as well as large group games hosted by an emcee. We had also contacted the state Department of Transportation who provided a state trooper who helped check infant safety seats.
Because of the great turnout of workers who came to the event, we were able to care for every vehicle that arrived in a timely manner WHILE ALSO building relationships with every family that came. It’s far too early to discern the long-term effect from this event, but as of this week, we’re thrilled with the results.
Have you ever done anything like this? What was your experience?
Or, if this idea sparks something even better in your mind, please share it!