Servant Evangelism (SE) connects people to people in a natural, easy, low-risk, high grace way. Who doesn't like to be given a cold soda on a hot day? Especially by someone who is smiling, happy and having fun. SE wins the heart before it confronts the mind. A small act of kindness nudges a person closer to God, often in a profound way as it bypasses ones mental defenses. The average Christ-follower is willing to hand a stranger a can of soda (low-risk). The high grace is seen in the typical reaction. “Oh, thank you!” “This is so nice!” “I can’t believe this is for free!” And, “Why are you doing this?”
Kindness builds the bridge for the person to receive a touch of love from God. Add a invitation to church or other method of connection—even a simple card with your church's name, phone number and times of services—and you’ve reached someone with the love of Christ! It’s simple, practical, effective, inexpensive and fun! We get reports from pastors, lay leaders and ordinary Christ-followers all over the world who have discovered the power and impact of “showing God’s love in practical ways,” and again and again we’ve seen relationships with God born from these simple acts of kindness in Christ’s name.
Here are some great ideas to get your church started in servant evangelism.
EASY, LOW-COST GIVEAWAYS
- Coffee Giveaways
Use either Igloo containers or air pump thermoses. Offer three options: regular, decaf and hot chocolate. On a cool day, you will have folks swarming for a cup of something hot. You will need three or four people to help give away coffee for each big canister. With each drink, we give out a connection card. Consider having paper cups with your church’s name and logo printed.
Some convenience stores will allow you to purchase an entire stack of newspapers. Place a sign on the top of the stack that reads, "Free Newspapers – Courtesy of (Church Name)" and attach a connection card to each paper with removable adhesive.
- Donut Giveaway during Morning Traffic Times
This giveaway is especially effective when performed by senior citizens—who can say no to a sweet grandma-type? These gals set up on a traffic island at a stoplight (make sure they’re safe out there). When the light turns red, they step up to cars and ask, "Would you like chocolate, maple or glazed?" They then give them a connection card with the snack.
- Soft Drink Giveaways
"Hi, would you like regular or diet?" This is our standard opening to bless folks with a small act of kindness on a hot day. And it works! We set up at grocery store entrances with large coolers filled with ice and drinks. Buy name-brand drinks instead of the cheaper stuff, and place a connection card under the opener. A courtesy note: Sometimes a location will conflict with vendors selling what you are giving away. Some of the most irate critics we've run into have been vendors who conclude we are trying to put them out of business. The answer: Set up in a location away from vendors. In extreme cases, consider asking the vendor how much money he/she anticipates losing by our presence, then give them that amount in cash.
- Bottled Water Giveaway
Many people prefer water to soft drinks. Ice down bottles of water in large coolers for an alternative to a soft drink giveaway. Use the same connection cards. We don't recommend combining this with a soda giveaway, because it offers too many options and gets complicated.