It may be a “four-letter word,” but it does work as a successful outreach tool, according to Jeff Van Beaver, president of Green Bay, Wis.-based Acts 1:8 Ministry.
The word is “free,” as in “free soda” or “free carwash,” and summertime is an ideal time for Lutheran congregations to get outdoors and connect with people in the community by sponsoring “Planned Acts of Christian Kindness” (PACK), says Van Beaver.
His three-year-old Acts 1:8 Ministry offers congregations a free PACK kit with ideas and locations — “where to go and what to do” — to share the love of Christ with others. The kit also includes steps to help church groups begin such an outreach ministry.
More than 570 congregations in 48 U.S. states and 17 countries have worked with Acts 1:8 Ministry to share their faith by sponsoring PACK activities such as:
- giving away free bottled water and canned soda at parks and community events.
- distributing free U.S. flags at Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades and picnics.
- sponsoring free carwashes or cleaning windshields for free.
- going door to door, offering to mow lawns for free.
The “acts,” Van Beaver says, are natural conversation-starters and “great ways to impact other lives.” They enable any church member to “share the Gospel in a non-threatening way,” he says. “People will ask you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Your answer is that we are showing you God’s love in a practical way.”
Van Beaver, a member of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Green Bay, says he started the ministry for one reason: Christ’s Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20).
“We’re partnering with the churches to equip them to go into their communities and share their faith,” he said.
Posted June 9, 2005