Sometimes Small Numbers Work Best

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planting flowers

Many times I have gone outreaching with just a small cadre of folks. Sometimes that has been a homegroup. At other times I have gone out with just a couple of friends who wanted to get some outreach experience. I regularly go out to serve with just one pastor who is curious about Servant Evangelism.

When we go out to serve with just a few people, one of the consistent comments we hear is “You people are everywhere! There must be hundreds of you!” That’s exactly what the Midianites thought when they saw Gideon’s 300 men surrounding their camp each armed with a torch and a clay pot (Judges 7). There is something powerful about projecting a large footprint even when we are small. The Kingdom of God is often like this. Peter and the early Church came across as larger than life as they went about doing good, teaching about Jesus, casting out demons and caring for the poor.

Be encouraged. You may only have a small group at this point as you go into the community. Later your numbers will swell and that will be fine, but in a sense, you are more pure, more powerful now with your few than you will ever be later when you have the luxury of greater momentum.

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am deacon of a very small Congregational Church in a reasonably affluent area. Never large, our membership has steadily declined over many years, accelerating as we searched for a new minister over the past 5 years. I brought the idea of Servant Evangelism to the church a couple of years ago. Since then we have had 4 -5 small outreach events every year – giving away holiday candy, feeding parking meters, Christmas caroling. It has been hard because many of our members are elderly and the younger people have young children with many demands on their time. Also several of our members live quite a distance away. A small, consistent group of people have been the ones to help with the outreach. Two months ago, one of our members suggested that instead of going out into the community, we do outreach from the church grounds. The church is located on a well-traveled road with a circle driveway. We started at Easter, giving away free Easter eggs filled with candy. We did it for four weeks, with a total of about 12 eggs given away over 2 hours each Saturday morning. (To be clear that ’12’ is a combined total for all four Sundays. On the Saturday before Mother’s Day we gave flowers to about eight cars. This week the same member thought of giving away tomato plants. We gave up on fancy signs because we realized that they were hard to read and settled on black foamcore boards with big white letters: FREE TOMATO PLANTS. We gave away 24 plants in less than an hour! We intend to do this outreach at least once a month for the rest of the year. For our church this is much more doable that going out right now. The people we reach are those who actually see our church. Now they see people having fun at our church. When we are bigger or for a special reason, we may go out further but right now this seems to be a big winner for us.

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