Outreach Strategy: Ask to be Invited

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New church starts often balance the need to gain visibility within their community with limited resources.  It was no different for our church.  How does one get the word out without breaking the bank?   One option was to sponsor a community event but it was soon evident that option was too expensive, so we decided to pursue another strategy.  Our goal was to get invited to participate in community events that were already scheduled.  Gathering a crowd seemed to be expensive but showing up where the crowd was gathered by others was much more manageable.

Our contribution was generally food.  People like food and especially if you can give it away.  Most of the time it was water; we had water bottles with our logo and information on the label.   Depending on the event we would give water away or occasionally we would sell it and give the money to the organization.  We eventually purchased a popcorn popper and expanded our operations.  The goal was just to be present and have the opportunity to talk to people.

The key to this strategy is getting invited and I found one method that was nearly perfect.  Ask to be invited.  Find the organizer of the event and ask if there is something you can do to make their event better.   They want their event to be great and if you can help – they are appreciative.    Everybody wins.  We have participated in July 4th Festivals, opening day of youth baseball, swim team meets, community garage sales, and school fund raisers.  Now we rarely ask to be invited, they call us and we are known as the church that supports the community.

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Jeff McDowell is the founding Pastor of The Harvest United Methodist Church in Missouri City, TX. He and his wife Paula have been married for 23 years and have two teenage children, Jackson and Tori. He is a graduate of Sam Houston State University (BBA), Asbury Seminary (M. Div) and Perkins School of Theology (D.Min – Evangelism). Jeff has a passion for partnering with the Spirit to help people reach their God given potential.

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