The 5/5/50 Rule

Getting your church out into your community can seem like a Big Deal, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Between rustling up new volunteers, squeezing out extra money in the budget, and wrangling all the people who will complain that “we’ve never done it that way before”, it can oftentimes seem like more trouble than it’s worth; especially when it sometimes takes years of consistent effort before your church will see results.

I’d like to offer you a way to start connecting with your community that’s easy and simple: no ad council meetings, new budget line items, or hand-holding required. All you have to do is follow a very simple rule: start with something that takes less than five people, takes less than five hours, and costs less than fifty dollars. (Because, in almost any church, you can always five people, five hours, and fifty dollars for something new.)

Don’t know where to start? Here are five ideas.

  1. Does your city have quarter-eating metered parking downtown? Get a truly insane number of quarters and drop them all over the downtown. Pay up people’s parking, leave them on people’s windshields, and occasionally leave a note saying, “You are loved.”
  2. Where do people who are homeless gather in your community? Find that park (or parking lot), buy a few dozen donuts and a gallon of coffee, and hang out with them on a Saturday morning.
  3. Contact your local family homeless shelter.  Make homemade cards with messages of appreciation and encouragement, and send them to the residents along with cookies (even store bought are fine) and flowers.
  4. Talk to a receptive school guidance counselor and find out what their poorest students need most. (It may be books, backpacks, or food for the weekend). Put together care packages for the students. Pray for the children whose lives you will be blessing.
  5. Don’t know much about your community? Find the local gathering spot (restaurant, cafe, gas station), and hang out there for a couple hours. Buy coffee for the next person behind you in line, and watch who comes in and out for a couple hours. Afterwards, use what you see as an opportunity for prayer.

Your Turn! What other 5/5/50 ideas do you have?

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