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‘Don’t go to church’ Sunday!

That’s right – I’m encouraging you to have a “Don’t Go to Church” Sunday. However, read on before making a beeline to the breakfast bar at your favorite restaurant.

Outreach is a core value of The United Methodist Church, and I’m proposing you do just that! Plan a Sunday where your congregation members don’t come to a worship service. Instead, they go out to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in the community. Imagine all the people you can reach.

Canned biscuits work great.

When considering outreach opportunities, you don’t need to start from scratch. Put ideas you already have for outreach ministry into action on a Sunday morning. Some possibilities include:

1. Hold a backyard Bible camp in your community. Consider targeting apartment complexes where many children live. Ask permission from the manager to set up in a central area such as a courtyard. Think of it as a one-day vacation Bible school with a Bible story, an activity, a snack and crafts. By the way, the site of balloons and a helium tank will draw kids in faster than green grass through a goose! Reach children who don’t go to church by having it on a Sunday morning!

2. Host a free car wash in a public area such as a fast-food restaurant or a supermarket. Those who come by on a Sunday morning are people who aren’t in church! Build awareness for your church while you serve the community.

3. Sponsor a picnic for military personnel, law enforcement officers and firefighters to show your appreciation for their service. Have plenty of volunteers available to visit and acquaint participants with your congregation.

4. Provide free oil changes for residents and staff at a domestic violence or other shelter that relies on community support. Be the lamp of Jesus through a filter and a few quarts of oil.

Tap into the skills you already have in your congregation. If you have members with carpentry, electrical or plumbing talent and experience, use that as an outreach opportunity.

Scouts honor!

Be prepared when you go out into the community. Be sure to have literature about your church to share with those you are helping. Have a variety of handouts with information tailored to the specific audience whose needs you are addressing. Provide information for times of ministries, such as church van pickup for those needing a ride to church, children’s programs, alternative worship services and more. Remember, one handout does not fit all!

Plan a “Don’t go to Church Sunday” for your congregation and witness the positive impact on your community. This is an incredible opportunity to minister to the community—and who knows?—you may find a new mission field in your own backyard. In addition, since food – even canned biscuits – brings in the masses, hold a church potluck the evening of your outreach day to share about your congregation’s experience of ditching their “Sunday best” for sneakers and a helpful heart.