Saturday, February 3, 2007
Developing Kindness to Go part 2
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.