My other website Eyesoutward.com Ongoing encouraging stories. Eyesoutward reveals who we are and how you can contact us. We enjoy meeting new people, traveling to new places, and great coffee.
My book Go. Sow. Practical tips, stories and helps toward outward-focused living is available on Amazon.com.
Kindness-to-Go is a simple, quick, and fun way to move people into the outreach arena. People pick up items during or after a service. Simple instructions are attached to the outreach item. People follow the instructions and reach out to their community.
For example: Gift Bag Outreach
Packed gift bags are placed near exits or on the stage. During the announcements people are informed, Today is Kindnesstogo weekend. As you leave the service today pick up a gift bag or two and follow the instructions on the bag. (Usually, the announcement contains a story of how someone was impacted by the outreach.)
Here are the instructions.
Kindness Kwik Tips: Gift Bags
Take the gift bags to stores, drive-thru fast-food locations, or give to your server at a restaurant at the end of your meal. Tip Big!
Say, “This gift is for you / your team. We just wanted to show you God’s love—no strings attached.“
Sometimes a conversation will emerge as people ask questions. Follow the conversation as long as you are enabled.
Sometimes there are prayer opportunities after a great conversation. Offer to pray a short 10-second prayer. “Could I pray a short prayer for you?” Hold out your hand. Most of the time people will hold your hand. Pray with your eyes open. You will be able to see their expressions and you will be able to love with your eyes as they usually keep their eyes open.
Remove this note after you’ve read the instructions. (it won’t self-destruct in 5 seconds)
How’s it works. We serve teachers (by taking a special display of kindness) and have hundreds of Valentine Packs available for the people of our church.
Every year we focus on teachers. So we make their day on Valentine’s Day by delivering special Dark Chocolate, and Hershey Kisses to the school staff rooms early on Valentine’s Day. One year we purchased special cup-cakes. Teachers need appreciation and the outreach helps us build bridges with the schools and also meets a need in a practical way.
Here’s how we set up Kindness-to-go and the outreach the Saturday before Valentine’s Day.
We pack hundreds of packs. A special connect card goes into each pack along with three Hershey Kisses and a red foil chocolate heart. We also have instruction sheets to help guide the outreach.
The tables are located at all exits, red or black table cloths and fun balloons create a fun vibe. The two weekends just before Valentine’s day. Our teens and children’s areas pack thousands of Hershey Kisses into small zip lock bags with our special ‘You’ve just been kissed!’ or Hugs connect card. People grab several of the bags as they leave the weekend services and go about kissing and hugging the people of our community during the week.
If the kids help pack the kisses it spreads the DNA of kindness to all ages.
A couple of years ago I went to the gym on one of my usual gym days. (My wife tells me it’s a good thing.) When I arrived I asked the receptionist, ‘Have you been kissed today?’ She smiled and said, ‘Nope, not today.’ I then gave her a pack said, ‘Well you’ve just been kissed.’ She laughed and exclaimed, ‘You’re from (she named the church) right?’ I replied, ‘Yep. We are kissing people all over the city this week.’
On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, we head out to a couple of strip malls near the church. We take the packs of kisses and several buckets of carnations. We pop into the businesses and head to the customer service desk and ask, ‘How many ladies are working today?’
We then count out the flowers and Hershey packs…and say, ‘We are from (the name of the church) and you’ve just been kissed.’
Usually, some of the other assistants are around and join in the exchange. Often, a male worker will ask for a carnation for his girlfriend or wife. Some guys say, ‘Thanks for the reminder.’
Most people are open, curious, laugh and catch the vibe.
One group went to a high-end Spa/Hair place, all of the working ladies gathered to receive their flower. ‘Who are you guys? Others exclaim, ‘This is so cool.’ Or sigh, ‘This will be my only present today. Flowers and kisses were also handed out to the ladies who were becoming beautiful-er.
One of the team noticed one of the ladies getting her hair cut didn’t receive a flower. So, being the sensitive, thinking person she is, made an extra special effort to find another team grab a flower and run back to the shop…when she gave the lady the flower, the surprised and delighted lady exclaimed, ‘You’ve just made my day! Thank you.’
Really? Made her day? It makes me wonder what one of her days looks like? It makes me wonder if she was ever loved, or had a caring boyfriend, or had a husband, or is now connected to an uncaring guy?
What’s in a gift of a small flower and a pack of kisses?
I think serving others in a fun, creative way sends an upbeat message to the people in our stressed-out world. Serving others often is a small action that sends a signal that says, ‘Hey, someone cares for you.’ The action performed with genuine love somehow touches the heart.
My friend Scott, says, ‘Agape love revealed… means my love is demonstrated as I serve others through the choices I make, and by the actions I take.’
Process for Valentine’s Outreach:
4 weeks out: have connect cards printed (www.marketplaceprinting) 4 weeks out: order Hershey Kisses (snacc foods Cincinnati) 4 weeks out: order 4”X4” zip bags. 4 weeks out: order boxes of Carnations for pick up 2 weeks out: have kids, teens or a team pack the bags Weekend of outreach: have packs placed at all exits
Valentine Outreach Saturday before Valentine’s Day
3 days out: pick up flowers, cut stems and place in buckets of water so they will be open on the day 3 days out: design maps with instructions and contact phone numbers 3 days out: make name tags 3 days out: gather Kiss packs and place in larger bags or containers for transport.
Saturday the Outreach Day before Valentine’s Day… Gather at 10am Give Instructions then divide up into teams Load up and head out. Also, be open to God’s leading and offer pray with people.go to shops, go to check out or customer service, ask, How many ladies are working today, count out Kisses packs and flowers give to workers, Say, ‘We’re from the (name of Church) and you’ve just been kissed.’ After the project go to a coffee shop for download and great java.
Filling Station Young Mom… A few years ago I went with a friend to meet some leaders in Cincinnati. We pulled into a filling station to get gas and the clean the wind-shield. While my pal went in to grab some water I noticed a young woman with two kids pull up in a red car…
As soon as she pulled in I had an impression that I was supposed to buy her a tank of gas. While deciding what to do… I watched as she pulled a five dollar note out of her purse, stare at the bill and go inside to buy gas.
I waited and noticed she put 3 dollars into the tank and the pump turned off. I got out of the truck walked over ran my card through the machine and said, ‘I think you need a full tank of gas tonight.’
She smiled. I asked her name and the ages of the kids then asked, ‘Are you working?’ She replied, ‘I’m an accountant and I lost my job yesterday.’
We continued to talk until the tank was filled up.
I then asked, ‘Would it be ok if I prayed for you?’ She said, ‘Yes.’
I prayed a specific prayer for her and her kids asking God to give her favor; that she’d find work soon; that His peace would flood her heart and life; that she would be provided for. I shook her hand and thanked her for allowing me to pray for her.
Target…She’s everywhere. A friend, was at Target and noticed a lady…he walked to another department and there she was again…
he took notice…then he went to another department and yep there she was… he went to one more place in the store and there she was again…
When he finished shopping he went to the check out. Guess who was standing behind him?…the lady.
After paying for his stuff he waited until she was finished… He then began a conversation…
‘I know this might sound strange but I noticed you everywhere I went in the store. I felt like there is something going on in your life at the moment.’
Although startled she replied, ‘My son is not doing well at the moment and I’m concerned for him.’ Caleb,’ I’m a believer would it be ok if I prayed for you.‘ She of course said yes and was visibly touched by the encounter.
This is how God space is created. Being open for God’s leading, and acting on what you notice. Prayer is the connection point…the place where God things can happen.
Jesus had an amazing ability to see others differently…
He noticed people:
A woman at a well had huge potential…She was curious, open, inquisitive, knowledgeable and was a woman of influence.
A guy in a tree
A guy under a tree
Fishermen who would later fish differently
A tax Collector
A woman who needed forgiveness
A man sitting by a pool
A dead son needing to made alive again
People at a party
People needing healing
He had an amazing ability to see others through His Fathers eyes. Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Eyesight has everything to do with insight. Doug Pollock author of God Space.
Inward-focused vs outward-focused The natural tendency of the human heart is to turn inward…
When under pressure all people have a tendency to turn inward, instead of upward, and outward. Being self-centered is a sure way to side-track our ability to create God space.
If we see only our selves… we become blind to the needs of others. My friend Doug Pollock calls this near sightedness ‘my-opia’.
I was addicted to myself. All I thought about was myself. The only thing I really cared about was myself. I had very little concept of love, altruism, or sacrifice. I discovered my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me: K-don, all don, all the time. donald miller blue like jazz
If we are honest at some point we all have radio stations tuned to our station. We need retuning. And we need to view life through a different lense.
Clues How to Notice What’s Going On?:
Become aware…aware of God, aware of others
it’s easy to miss something you are not looking for.
Slow down, you move to fast got to make the morning last. Young Rascals.
Our fast paced task orientated lifestyle prevent us from being aware of others. I’m convinced we miss every day opportunities to serve others because we rush through life.
Practicing slowing down on the inside, while everything is racing on the outside is a skill that can be developed.
Put on Jesus Glasses…
We all view life through a lense…our back ground, upbringing, culture, country of residence, and our e:experience shape our world view.
In order to create God space we have to begin to live life and to view life differently. Just as Jesus viewed the world through His Fathers eyes… so too we need to view our world through the eyes of Jesus. What do you see? Does your seeing move you to action?
Make everyday an adventure…Watch Everyday Dave Matthew’s Band
It’s easy to miss something you are not looking for.
Take Risks… this is part of the adventure… Noticing need + Listening for God prompts + Action (meeting the need or offering prayer) = Adventure
the steadfast adherence to the same principles, or set course, day in and day out, week in and week out and year in and year out.
Creating your community awareness of who you are means your team is determined to be in your community in every season. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
Galatians 6:9 NIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I’m reminded of the movie Galaxy Quest. The Captain always stated, “Never surrender, Never give up.“
“I’ve read many books concerning effective evangelism. Every book I’ve read points to one important aspect… consistency.
David Wilkerson in NY was always there…going out into the community, talking with people, encouraging seekers, and taking risks.
Floyd McClungliving in Amsterdam was there day by day, having conversations with people on the Hippy Trail, breaking down barriers, building bridges.
Billy Graham really didn’t ever change… His messages were simple, direct to the point month by month year by year.
Loren Cunningham mobilizes the youth in our generation into their world, encouraging young people to pray, believe, to serve, and to care.
Steve Sjogren learned to serve his community by going and serving. He understands and lives the value of being out there with small acts of kindness consistently.
Mike Pilivochi and Soul Survivor in the UK serve, worship and share the good news, impacting thousands in Manchester, and London with Soul in the City.
Bethel Church in Redding California is known as a church who loves and serves by their community. Wisdom: Power To Change The World …a great must-read book.
How do you know your church has impacted a community?
Answer: People of your community begin to define your church in a positive manner. Hint: we are all already defined by our community, both positively and negatively. The good news! We have a major role to play in creating how we are perceived by our communities.
Questions to ask?
How do you define your church? We are the church who (fill in the blank)______________________________________________.
If you want to know how your community defines your church you will have to go into your community and ask:
When you hear the name of this church (say the name of your church) what comes to your mind?”
What have you heard?
When I was living in a city in Florida I worked for a church that no longer existed.
Christians often define themselves by what they saythey believe, and what they say they value. In actuality, our communities where we live often define us much better than we define ourselves. They define us by what they see us do, not only by what we say we value and believe.
I once served a church where the community didn’t know we existed. Yup! Often, I would meet someone during outreach and in the midst of the conversation I’d mention our church’s name and they would say, “I thought you no longer existed.” This was not encouraging to the person who was hired to turn the church outward.
The church was in an existence mode and was enduring a season of hardship. We had no budget to speak of. Many people left, and we had done little outreach into the community.
At the same time, an amazing leader Buford Lipscomb and his family were steering the church out of recovery mode and into their future as an Oasis of Hope and Love.
I later moved north for another assignment. I have been tracking how they have been doing. Liberty Church in Pensacola has an amazing story. They are now in five locations and growing. It’s a great church. The people they’ve gathered are loving, serving, and faith-filled. The leadership is smart, sharp and clearly has a heart for their city. They are now well known throughout their community. They are marked by their sense of family, and for their love, care and service for their community.
When I worked at the Dayton Vineyard I lost my phone. I went to my phone provider with an old phone to activate. I was asked, “What business name is your phone under?” I said, “the Dayton Vineyard“. The lady standing next to me exclaimed: “Oh you’re that pretty good church that serves the community! I’ve heard about what you guys’ do!” I asked, “What have you heard?” She then told me about the positive things she and others have heard and seen us do. Humbly, but joyfully I replied, “Yep that’s us, we’re just pretty good.”
I walked away encouraged. I thought, “It really does work. What you sow you will reap.”
How does this happen? It’s simple. Years of hard work, sowing, caring, praying, going, being out there in season and out of season.We were consistent. Our consistency redefined church too much of our community. People came to see. As a result, many people become Christ-followers as they heard our messages and observed The Vineyard’s lifestyle. I remember the time we baptized ninety people on one Sunday!
We also knew we needed God’s favor to be upon our lives and upon what we were doing. We consistently asked Jesus to place His favor upon us as a church.
God’s Favor is what empowered Daniel, Esther, Joseph, and Jesus to impact their world. In fact, the early church ‘had the favor of all the people’ … Jesus ‘grew in favor with God and man.’
How do you gain favor? 1. You ask for it? It’s a gift that increases with proven character…and sometimes even stays with people who have bad character…the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.
Samson was a bad character but was a ‘having God’s favor’ – kind of guy.
In his last season of life, He stood up as before but didn’t realize God’s grace for battle had vanished. Realizing he was left alone he turned toward God and asked for strength for just one more exploit.
Favor brought Daniel, Joseph, Esther, Jesus before Kings, shut mouths of lions, delivered men out of prison, spared a race of people, and received a crucified risen Savior…all because of God’s favor.
2. You serve where you are, with what you have, while you can. A simple word study on the phrase good deeds is pretty revealing, especially in the pastoral epistles.
1 Timothy 6:18 NIV Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (The epistles were written as instructions for local church leaders Timothy and Titus.)
3. Serve with the attitude of Christ. see Philippians Chapter 2. True humility, embracing genuine love, a having great attitude, and a servant’s heart.
Jesus said, don’t hide your light under a bushel basket but let your light shine in such a way so that when they see your good deeds they will glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Peter said, let your good deeds shine in such a way that they will glorify God on the day of His visitation.
So what is visibility evangelism?
It’s consistently showering your community with good deeds done in the name of Jesus.
It’s living consistently within the love and grace that God provides.
It’s being out in the community, day in day out, moment by moment serving, loving and caring.
It’s being wise how you answer every person who talks to you about the hope you have.
There’s no great secret why serving churches are energized, thriving, and growing. It’s simple: someone is praying, someone is serving, someone is loving, someone is caring, and someone is going out into the community sharing God’s love with the people in their sphere of influence in a practical way… consistently.
Kindness-to-Go encourages outward-focused-ness to flow from a congregation, a seminar or a conference.
Description of kindness:—noun
1. the state or quality of being kind.
2. a kind act.
3. favor: his many kindnesses to me.
4. kind behavior: I will never forget your kindness.
5. friendly feeling; liking.
Kindness-to-Go Outcomes: Small simple acts of kindness bring the giver and the receiver of the act of kindness into a relationally connective experience.
Len Sweet uses this communication filter E.P.I.C. to encourage leaders to develop sensory elements (see, taste, smell, hear and feel) when communicating with not-yet-believers.
EPIC Filter/Grid: Experiential, Participatory, Image-Based and Connective. Kindness-to-go incorporates all of the filters.
I ask the question before every outreach,”Does this outreach contain E.P.I.C. components?“
Experiential: Is there a positive experience exchanged? Yes, the giver experiences an emotional, spiritual lift when giving or serving someone. The person receiving the small gift or an act of service experiences kindness and love.
The experience is heightened by adding a prayer component. Praying with a person is both a spiritual and an emotional experience for the person praying and the person receiving prayer.
A kind act, done with great love, enables both the giver and the receiver to experience a positive touch of God’s love.
If the kindness is an offered drink or food, the receiver receives the gift, and experiences the pleasure of eating and/or drinking. This reinforces the positive experience in the memory/feeling part of a persons being. A relational experience also flows through a positive personal conversation and connection.
Participatory: Are the giver and receiver participating? Yes, the giver gathers, serves and gives; the receiver receives the gift or the act of service. Dialogue, encouragement and grace touches both the giver and receiver.
Image-Based: Is there a positive image connected to the small gift or act of service? Yes, the image may be an item: a connect card, a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, a gift bag, a granola bar etc. The caring serving person is also part of the positive image.
The image seeing someone serving another human with no strings attached is powerful. The kind acts often remain embedded within a person’s memory.
Definition of kindness: kind behavior: I will never forget your kindness.
Connective: Is there a positive connective act that relationally connects the heart to the giver and the receiver? Yes, the positive connection intensifies as conversation develop and authentic love flows.
Small things done with great love will change the world. Sjogren.
Good deeds create good will that opens hearts to the Good News. Rusaw
There is also a spiritual dimension of an intentional act of kindness. When we join Heaven’s kind intention toward the people the Father loves, the Holy Spirit bears witness to our kind acts/good deeds.
A spiritual seed is placed within the heart of those serving and those receiving.*see article at the end.
(See Ephesians 1 NASB and Titus 3 NASB.)
Kindness-to-Go Practice / Experience:
People quickly pick up items to be shared with others after a church service, a conference session, or a seminar.
They read or listen to simple instructions.
They then go and do.
Example Gift Bags:
People pick up gift bags and go. They give the bag and the connect-card as a positive intentional act of kindness to restaurant workers, servers at drive-thru eateries, grocery store check out people. Some take the gift bags to hospitals, or to their work, or to an office where they are relationally known. i.e. Their doctors office. etc.
Why Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Wellbeing
Article below by Sandra Ciminelli; Cred. Dip.Couns.(Chris6an) Sources: David R Hamilton, PhD., ‘The Five Side Effects of Kindness‘ (Hay House, February 2017).Random Acts Of Kindness/The Science of Kindness
Making others feel good through an act of kindness can be really rewarding by making us feel great about our actions for doing the right thing. Practicing kindness also has a profound effect our own mental & physiological health, helping us to become happier and compassionate towards others. Being kind to others has been known to help boost our own immune system, slow down aging, elevate our self esteem and improve blood pressure.
Both practicing and witnessing acts of kindness can help reduce blood pressure by producing oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone.’ Oxytocin causes the release of nitric acid in the blood vessels which effectively expands the blood vessels thus reducing blood pressure.’ Self-esteem, a better outlook on life (optimism) and a healthy heart are said to be the benefits of kindness. But it doesn’t stop there. Kindness has a positive effect on others that spreads.
Kindness is Contagious
Experiencing an act of kindness can improve our mood, it can make our day and increase the likelihood of spreading kindness to others.
Exercise / Practice Kindness “It’s kind of like weight training, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.” Dr. Ritchie Davidson, University of Wisconsin.
You can’t win a person over with hatred or indifference “Kindness makes a person attractive. If you could win the world, melt it, do not hammer it.” Alexander McClaren
HERE IS A LIST ON THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF KINDNESS ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH • Pain – kindness releases endorphins in the brain. It’s a natural painkiller. • Stress – kind people age slower and have lower stress than the average person. • Anxiety & Depression – kindness improves mood, depression and anxiety. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which heals wounds, calms and increases happiness. • Blood Pressure – kindness helps release oxytocin, a ‘cardio protective’ hormone that releases another chemical called ‘nitric oxide in the body that dilates blood vessel, thus reducing blood pressure. • Pleasure – elevated levels of dopamine in the brain causes pleasure/reward centers to light up. This is known as the ‘helpers high.’ • Self-Worth – kindness can make us not just feel good about ourselves, but begin to believe in ourselves, increasing our self-worth. • Relationships – kindness helps improve relationships by reducing the distance between individuals.
God wants us to be kind to one another, be good Samaritans and help the less fortunate. God in his infinite wisdom, love and kindness presented mankind with salvation. The ultimate act of kindness was the death of Jesus Christ giving himself up for us. Not because of our own righteousness but by the mercy of God.
“The kind intention of his will.” Eph. 1
“When the Kindness of God appeared…” Titus 3:4-5 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Sandra Ciminelli; Cred. Dip.Couns.(Chris6an) Sources: David R Hamilton, PhD., ‘The Five Side Effects of Kindness‘ (Hay House, February 2017).Random Acts Of Kindness/The Science of Kindness
Revive Ohio. Their foundation for reaching people is founded upon the principles found in the Gospels. They believe Jesus is the best example to follow when sharing the good news.
Love: Love looks like something. Love may look like an act of kindness or a caring hug. Love could look like a bottle of water on a hot day or a sandwich to a hungry homeless person. Love is expressed by both our attitudes and by our actions. Love is patient and love is kind. 1 Cor:13:4
Love: Love looks like something. Love may look like an act of kindness or a caring hug. Love could look like a bottle of water on a hot day or a sandwich to a hungry homeless person.
Listen: To listen means slowing down on the inside to really listen with your ears and with your heart. Listening to the person you are talking to and listening to the Holy Spirit upon and within you.
Discern: Asking questions, what does this person need to know about Jesus? What’s is their spiritual address? Where is this person on their journey toward faith? Are they far away? Are they thinking about Jesus? Are they close to entering the Kingdom? Are they jaded by church and religion? Are they open or closed?
Respond: Appropriately responding to the person by being kind, helpful, interested, caring and loving. Share the Good News appealing to who they are and where they are. Asking them to respond to the Good News.
It’s the love component that stirred my heart. Love enables us to listen, discern and respond. Love is both an attitude of our hearts and an action.
Love is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1Cor 13 NASB
Love enalble us have focused listening… an ear toward heaven, and an ear actively listening to the person we are speaking to.
Learning to be a person who loves well, takes time and practice. This is the greatest challenge for every person who trains others to reach their world.
Methods are easier to learn than being a person who loves well from the heart. People using a method, rather than loving and interacting with a person is a personal frustration.
Jesus was probably just a little frustrated. He had two disciples who wanted to call fire down from heaven and nuke a town. Wrong attitude. Wrong response. Honoring a person’s space, and honoring their right to end the conversation at any time is part of loving a person.
Questions to ask ourselves. Am I being kind? Am I being patient? Am I seeking my own success? Am I just going through the process of this method, or do I genuinely care about the person I am talking to.
In my book, Go. Sow. My Forward states:
“The people we reach are not projects, nor are they targets. They are human beings who are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are created in the image of God and are deeply loved by God. Every person on earth has a life story which filters their world-view. People are complex, and most have a God history. Their experiences and their pursuit or non-pursuit of spirituality is unique; no two people are alike.
This understanding is the beginning place. We must ground ourselves in this truth as we seek to share who we are and what we have received with others. How well people are listened to, understood, spoken to, and loved by you and me is all important.
Jesus came to seek and to save. His life reflected genuine love. It’s my hope we too will be reflections and expressions of His love as we reach out to our world.”
A guy on a swing.
Our Revive team had a powerful encounter with a man on a swing. When we headed out we had a map. The map helped guide us. One of the ladies said, “I think we need to go to the green area, a local park.”
When we arrived there was a man on a swing. He was the only person in the park. We walked up and started a conversation. As the conversation continued we discovered his life was a train wreck… not of his making or choosing.
He mentioned three different tragic relational, and health issues. He was sitting on the swing pondering the shattering events of his life. Any One of the issues he was facing would have destroyed most people.
He needed hope. That day, this one man on a swing, was the day he encountered the God of all Hope. He decided to follow Jesus.
The Bible and wristband Revive use to share the Gospel were a great help to communicate the good news in a way he could understand. We prayed with him and for him.
When we left he was sitting on the swing reading the Bible we had just given him. The hour and a half encounter became one of the most radical encounters I’ve ever had in my life. I still have the map.
Reaching out effectively requires us to love in attitude and in action. Practicing Love, Listen, Discern and Respond are great attitudes and life skills to practice. You can use the four steps with your family, friends, people you meet or with the people you are reaching.
If you have signed up to serve, you might be excited, nervous, or feeling a bit like a fish out of water. Good news!… it’s normal. Here are some tips to help you develop confidence as you serve.
Gain knowledge…be sure you have the information you need and that you have an understanding about your assignment. It’s ok to ask questions, and to ask for a simple job description before your time of service. Be sure to attend any training sessions before the event. Smart leaders will attempt to over communicate, what, where, why and how.
Exercise…confidence grows through our experience of loving and serving others. Simply put…the more you serve…the better you serve.
Find a place…there may be an event when volunteers just show up, or arrive late; the instructions may seem sketchy; people are rushing to meet timelines; setting things up, moving here and there the energy is high.
The show up events can feel a little like being out of control, chaos. We prefer to call it organized excitement. Flexibility is the name of the game. Leaders do have a plan, and usually know what they are doing. (note:be patient with new leaders they are learning to lead and are in process.)
The key to press through this stage of the event is to actively seek to find a place of service.
Step back, look around, and begin to ask yourself, “Is there anything needing done that’s not being done? Is there any equipment which needs to be moved, or set up. Is there trash needing picked up? Are there any volunteers who seem over-whelmed whom you could help?”
Step back, take a wide look at what’s going on, then take a deep breath, step forward and begin to serve.
People focused…remember people are always much more important than the task at hand. In the midst of serving… remember… it’s all about building relationships and revealing Jesus to the people we serve.
Attitude…have you ever been served by an uptight aggressive person? I have.
I’ve wonder why they are serving in the first place? Sometimes I’ll have a conversation to bring encouragement. Sometimes I’ll move the person to another location away from people.
Having a positive attitude toward the people you are serving is all important. People are usually pretty perceptive and can sense when we are uptight, having a bad day, or when we are full of encouragement and are genuinely seeking to love and serve.
Tip: before the event it is important for you to do some personal prayer prep, to pause and think… Why did I signed up? Ask God to help you care for others, and to help you to serve with a good heart. Chose to wear a smile, and to allow your love to be real.
Paul writing in Philippians chapter 2 talks about having a proper serving attitude. He says, in your serving:
Don’t be selfish…as you serve don’t be focused on your feelings and your needs, but choose to focus on the needs of others.
Be humble…begin to think how you can effectively express Gold’s love and grace toward the people you are serving. Perhaps your expression of humility will be a kind smile, a calm voice toward and aggressive stressed out person, or a warm look toward someone who looks out-of-place. Sometimes it looks like a gentile hug to affirm a kid, or an informative answer given to a nervous question.
Bottom line…How do you learn to serve? By serving. Serving others generates a healthy other-centered-ness. Consistently serving others is one of the ways God brings health and healing into our lives.
Love does. Love looks like something. Love is patient and kind.