This post was written by Crystal Mazzuca, a member of the INCM Blog team.
Can I be honest with you? Outreach overwhelms me.
It often feels like I’m giving everything I have to help Sundays run smoothly, encourage and equip my volunteers, and partner with families to be intentional with discipleship at home.
Add to that trying to help families be missional and serve? It can feel like too much!
Praise God that we don’t have to do things like this alone!
Partnering with other churches and nonprofits is an amazing way to help your church and families do outreach without feeling like you have to plan and organize everything by yourself. The burden is shared among passionate people and the impact is multiplied through getting more parties involved.
Whether you are brand new to trying to start up these relationships or you’re looking to strengthen what you already have in place, here are some ideas for building a strong partner outreach program.
1. Take time to prayerfully consider where God is calling you to serve.
There are a lot of needs out there. The great thing is God has called and equipped different people and organizations to meet those needs in a variety of ways.
Rather than feeling like you need to get involved in every ministry, cause, and outreach opportunity, spend time in prayer asking God for one or two that you can really focus on. You can make these outreach programs strong and sustainable. After some time, as God leads, you can add in more.
2. Once you’ve discerned what God is calling you to, research potential partners.
Do you live in a community with a high homeless population? Take some time to research what churches and other organizations are already doing to reach those people. Are you feeling called to outreach with foster and adoptive families? Find out what is already in place to help them. Whatever outreach you do, you don’t need to feel like you’re starting from scratch.
3. Take some time to reach out to leaders and organization contacts.
You can only gain so much information through a Google search and websites. Take the time to reach out to contact people at the churches and organizations you are hoping to partner with. Take them out for coffee, listen to their heart, and ask questions about what it would look like to partner with them. Be open to what it would look like for your church and families when it comes to outreach.
Are you willing to try something new and a little risky? Who knows? You may come up with a brand new way to help families connect in service with their program!
4. Include both Christian and secular organizations.
When it comes to outreach, our heart is to meet needs in order to share the love of Jesus. There are plenty of secular organizations that are doing a great job meeting needs. As believers, we can partner with them to help reach people and meet their needs with the hope and goal of being able to shine the light of Christ.
When you partner with a secular organization, you also have the unique opportunity of sharing the love of Jesus with the people who work for the group.
5. Start small.
When you begin an outreach partnership, don’t feel like it needs to be something that all of your people will continue to do every month for the foreseeable future. Host a one-time outreach event where your families are invited to serve. Or, gather a small group of interested people and serve along with them. Afterwards, evaluate how it went and see if it is something you want to do again. Over time, you will build momentum and buy-in.
6. Lead other churches to join.
Over time, outreach becomes a part of how you function in ministry. If you get to a place where your outreach ministry is thriving, consider inviting other churches to partner with you. Be the kind of open and creative partner that you would love to have had when you were first beginning.
We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Being a part of the body of Christ means we don’t have to do this alone. Partnering together with other churches, organizations, and nonprofits in our area helps us all work together to put the love of God on display.
So pray, connect, plan, and watch what God will do!
Crystal has always loved working with kids. After earning her Masters in Christian Education Administration, Crystal was hired as the full-time Director of Kids’ Ministry at her church. She’s thankful to have found a family of like-minded brothers and sisters who share a common passion for Kingdom growth through discipleship.