Friday, February 16, 2007

Kindness to Go 5

Outward focused communication, combined with practical application, helps nurture the heart of the Vineyard people empowering them to reach outward to their family, friends and daily connections.
Steve Bowen

Outreach It’s In Our DNA…It’s who we are
Consistency is the key.

A lady attended the Vineyard for the first time during our May, ‘Flowers Everywhere’ outreach weekend. As people left the services they would pick up flats of four flowers from our main entrance and take to their neighbors, friends and family just to show God’s love in a personal way.

As I was cleaning up I noticed a lady fidgeting in her car, looking my way, a bit shy and sheepish. I continued to clean up. When she walked over she held out the cash she had removed from her car and asked, ‘How much are the flowers?’ I said, ‘They are free!’ She asked, ‘Can I have two flats?’ I exclaimed, ‘Wow that’s a lot of flowers! Who are they for?’ She replied, ‘I heard the message today, and as I watched people taking flowers, I thought, ‘Who can I show God’s love to… My dad. I can plant flowers for him, and bring some light into his day.’ I replied, ‘That’s a nice thought.’ She replied, ‘By the way, my dad lost both of his legs and can’t plant flowers anymore.’ I replied, ‘Here’s eight flats, have a great time loving on your dad.’

Then I thought, ‘now that’s what kindness to go is all about.’
Outward focused communication combined with practical application helps nurture the heart of the Vineyard people empowering them to reach outward to their family, friends and daily connections.

‘Kindness to go’ simply put is doable evangelism that works.

Here is a recent letter from a church I coach.

Steve I’d like to express my gratitude again for envisioning me for ‘kindness to go’ last January. This past year we’ve given out thousands of Kindness to go bags and it seems like there are great testimonies on most weekends now. Thank you for being the catalyst to move us outward.

Blessings & Peace
Peter Lucas

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Here is a short list of K.T.G. ideas that work for us:

Kiss Dayton
The two weekends just before Valentines day. Our teens and children’s departments pack thousands of Hershey Kisses into small zip lock bags with our special ‘you’ve just been kissed’ connect card. People grab several of the bags as they leave the weekend services and go about kissing Dayton during the week.

I went to the gym and asked the receptionist, ‘Have you been kissed today?’ Her startled look was a sight to behold, I then handed her a pack of kisses and said, ‘Well, you’ve just been kissed?’ she laughed and then commented, ‘You’re from the Vineyard, right? I said, ‘Yep, we’re that kissing church down the street.’

First Frost Ice-scrapers

Be ready for first frost by ordering ice scrapers with your church logo and web address. The weekend of first frost, usually early November in the north, give the ice-scrapers to the attendees to give to their neighbors and friends. Better yet, encourage the people to scrape the ice off of their neighbor’s car windows and then leave the scraper as a gift.


Same spin as Kiss Dayton except use small candy canes, or round peppermints placed in thousands of small bags around Christmas time.

Dog’s don’t you just love em!

Small bags of dog biscuits with a fun connect card for dog walkers work well during the spring or summer months.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


1.anything built or serving to bar passage, as a railing, fence, or the like: People may pass through the barrier only when their train is announced.
2.any natural bar or obstacle: a mountain barrier.
3.anything that restrains or obstructs progress, access, etc.: a trade barrier.
4.a limit or boundary of any kind: the barriers of caste.


1.a structure spanning and providing passage over a river, chasm, road, or the like.
2.a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent elements, activities, conditions, or the like: 'Kindness to go' was a bridge between the Vineyard and the community.

Four Years Later

Hundreds of bags have been given to friends, businesses, restaurants, and families and thousands of small packs of items have been scattered all over the area. Now, when we mention outreach there is a noticeable positive buzz within the Vineyard and positive association points within our community. Stories of people crying after receiving a gift is common, people saying, ‘Oh, you are that ‘pretty good church’ that serves the community.’ is a frequent response. The Church is re-defined in our community and countless seeds are planted and watered by God’s grace and His generosity is expressed through our positive proactive deeds.

Kindness To Go! Breaking down barriers, and building bridges.

A barrier prevents people connecting...truth to be and care to be expressed or to be received.

A bridge is often built to shorten the distance between two points. The Forth Road Bridge(not the one in the picture) was built for this purpose. Before the bridge was built a person had to wait in line to catch a ferry, a hassle on a cold dreary day, or travel about 15 miles out of your way to the Kincardine bridge.

Kindness to go breaks down emotional, personal, religious and relational barriers and builds a bridge into the heart of the people we serve.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


Developing Kindness to Go part 2

Brain Shift
I shifted track and began to think differently, out of the box, away from past success of Saturday morning outreach in another place. During this period I prayed a lot, and paused to think, to dream and to wonder. What could I establish that would be upbeat, accomplish our short term and long term goal of helping our people move into an outward focused life style and at the same time impact our community in a meaningful way?

What’s In A Stuffed Animal?…Inspiration that’s what.
I remembered a story of a church in the south that planned to reach the children’s hospitals in their area with new stuffed animals. The pastor had a heart for the hurting, and knew from experience that when a child suffers the whole family, and extended family suffer. He thought, ‘How can I meet this need?’

One day while walking through the local mall he noticed the unnoticeable, some kids hugging their new stuffed animals. He then wondered what it would look like if every person from his church brought in new stuffed animals to give to the sick kids in hospital? What he pictured was a good image. He acted on his vision.

The next week he held up a stuffed animal and invited the church to bring a little light into a child’s life by bringing in new stuffed animals. Needless to say the church responded to his vision. As the stuffed animals arrived they were hung by fishing line from the ceiling, they were placed on every available shelf space in the hallways, on the steps and tables in the main meeting room, everywhere. At the given date, the animals were taken to the hospitals for the sick kids. The result, impactful, fun, upbeat, serving which connected the outward focused vision to the people of the church as well as care, love and concern for the people they served.

I then began to plan weekend outreach projects that would raise the value of outreach among the Vineyard people and would touch the heart of the people within our community. I wondered if ‘Kindness to go’ was a way to motivate the outward focused heart of the Vineyard people?

Give em the Bag!

We began Kindness to Go! with ‘Give em the bag outreach’. I packed 250 medium sized, cool looking bags packed with trail mix, granola bars, a small box of Kleenex tissues, breath mints, peanuts, peanut butter crackers, and mini chocolate bars. I clipped our connect card on the front side of the bag a tossed a couple of connect cards in side the bag. I also, purchased some decorative shredded plastic filler to top the bags. (we’ve discovered people enjoy the surprise of digging through the plastic film to get to the rest of the items in the bag)

I then divided the bags over the 4 weekend services allocating more for the peak services. We placed the bags in a central location on the stage for effect. During the message the speaker held up a bag, related an outward focused story, and encouraged the people to come and pick up a bag at the end of the service and then take it to their favorite restaurant, drive through, or grocery store. After the meal, or when they are paying for their food, or paying for their groceries He asked them to smile and say, “Hi I have a gift for you today?’ Then to respond to their questions, or stunned look with, ‘I go to the Vineyard, a pretty good church in Dayton, this small gift is just to show you God’s love in a personal way.” ‘Kindness to go’ was a great success. The vibe, outward focused value, and community impact we were seeking to develop began.