1. Student driven.- Any outreach you do needs to be student driven. First of all, it needs to be done by your students or at least they need to play a major role in what is going on. Our ministries can no longer be about telling students to bring their friends to come and see our show. Therefore you must equip your students to go out and reach their friends in their communities and on their campuses. You need to train them in how to share the Gospel and how to minister to the whole person. And then you need to make sure that you love and support them when the road gets hard. But also, if you are doing an outreach on your church campus, let students help plan and run the event. Because the other part of being student driven is that you need to make sure that the event you plan matches the culture of the community you live in and the needs that it has. And who better to help you with that than the students who live in it every day.
2. Mix it up.- I do think you should have a blend of events on your church property that are geared towards community outreach and also sending your students out into the community itself. Because again, at the end of the day the goal is to help students experience life change so they can be discipled and become life changers. And a big part of this is them being a part of the church. Plus, the community around you needs to know the church is there and that the church cares about them. So yes, I do think from time to time you should do events like back to school bashes, basketball tournaments, cookouts, game nights. etc. But remember, even with those it still should all be student driven and about your students connecting with other students who come.
3. Gospel centered.- I have said this several times and want to say it again. Everything we should do should come down to us finding a way to eventually share the Gospel with others. So if your students are going and doing outreach outside of the walls of the church, make sure they are trained in how to share their faith with others. And if you are doing an event inside the church, make sure that the Gospel is part of your event in some way, be it from the stage or in personal conversations.
These are just a few of my thoughts on outreach. I would love to hear from you though. What are you doing to reach out to your community and to equip your students to be prepared for those opportunities?