In Enola, PA, River of God Church is known as “the church that rakes the leaves.” During the fall, the church reaches out to local residents by sending teams of people to rake lawns and gather up leaves free of charge. While two of the team members rake up fall leaves, the other members speak with the residents, presenting them with baked goods and inviting them to church. (In winter, church members can shovel snow-filled sidewalks and provide baked goods with a “Shovel and Bake.”) Since beginning this ministry, River of God has experienced positive response both in new families coming to their church and doors opened to share Christ. “It’s been one of our most successful outreach events,” said Pastor Joe Drovich. “The community has been overwhelmingly grateful, because they couldn’t imagine anyone raking leaves for free. It’s given them a sense of trust in our church.” Easily re-create this outreach idea at your church at no cost to you.
Schedule. Choose a weekend or two at the end of the fall season to hold the event.
Recruit. Sign up teams of volunteers to do the raking and the baking. Ask half of them to bring their own rakes, garbage bags, and work gloves. Ask the other half to bring a baked item. If additional equipment is needed, ask other members if they would loan theirs to the team.
Advertise. Send a notice to the local newspapers and put ﬂyers in local stores advertising the event. The ad might say, “Got leaves? Save the raking for us!”
Promote. Have “bakers” wrap and decorate their cookies, bread loaves, or other baked goods with colored plastic wrap or festive bows. Attach a card or invitation with church information, service times, location, and phone number.
Pray. Ask teams to meet at the church early on the day of the event and pray together for the people they will be visiting. Ask God to guide the teams to homes with the greatest need.
Plan. Share a corresponding message series on “Servanthood: Taking it to the Streets.”
Excerpt from “Keep the Change, Outreach on a Shoestring” by the editors of Outreach magazine. Copyright @2006 by Outreach magazine. Used by permission. All rights reserved.