Building a time of community service into an event is not a new idea. Doing it well is a challenge. Service can be a great opportunity for deepening community, and for discipleship. If you’re considering adding a time of service to your faith-based event, follow these steps.
Make the connection obvious. Pair the type of service with the event theme. A youth leader training group could serve an outreach center to teens. Or, you could do any type of service and make it clear that you would be teaching the leaders how to lead a team of people in service during the outreach.
Stay Close. Look for opportunities to serve close to the event venue. Clean up, painting, yard work and food service are typical opportunities. Check around for a smaller school or public institution close to your event location and ask how you might be able to help. Is your event profession specific? If you have engineers, nurses, firemen etc… consider how you might tap their unique skills.
Modeling. Believers should be in service in their communities on a regular basis. So, don’t go about this as a “punch card” experience- “I did my service for the year and now have photos of it to post on Facebook.” Find people who serve regularly and appoint them as group leaders. They can model compassion, truth and joy in the sometimes uncomfortable and tricky situations that arise during community outreach.
Logistics. Vans, drivers, snacks, water, permits, reflective vests, supplies, waivers, appointments. What will you need to do ahead of time so that the morning, afternoon or few hours of service will go smoothly?
A service experience can provide a unique opportunity for bonding and modeling in a believer’s life. Weaving this into an event is challenging and rewarding. Have you taken a group out for service during an event? What did you do? What will you do differently next time?