The year is well under way, and we’re getting plans in place for the summer and beyond.  The city today had the last of a week of planning meetings to hear citizens’ priorities as it crafts next year’s budget in a down economy.  It’s all about the plans and costs.

A few years ago I led a community outreach with a struggling congregation to provide a city-sponsored lunch to any child that walked in the door.  I was hoping to get a consistent 150 children aged 2-18 to come at lunch, 5 days a week, for 19 weeks.  The members wanted to know why we were doing it.  Here’s what I told them:

We were going to get 150 children in the building…

So that we might meet them and learn how to meet their families,

So that we could minister to those 60-90 families

With hopes that at least 10% of those families will join us for Sunday church

So that  when visitors come, they will see a vibrant children’s program, and stay

So that  we can begin to attract children’s leaders

… and gain tithing members

… and restore the church to long-term viability

Some understood.  Some didn’t.  One complained about having a story hour in the library, and kept us out.  Another didn’t want the kids to mess up the floors, and locked the door after lunch was over.  Another didn’t trust teenagers to help run simple recreation with grade-school aged kids.

We never got more than 75 kids to come.  We did get 40 to come back on Wednesday night, where we played games and gave them the Gospel.  We got 10 to come on Sunday, and 2 brought their parents.  One got saved.

You don’t have to use my model, but you should know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and prepare for both distractors and results.