Summer is here. The sun is out. The weather is hot. All that means people are outside. Summer creates a natural rhythm to connect with others. In neighborhoods, at pools, at malls, in parks, at ball fields and courts, summertime draws crowds of people all over the city. This is the perfect time for mission. Most of us have plans for summer vacations, books to read, or projects to start. But do you have a plan for summer missional engagement? With so many people out and about, disciple makers need some simple ideas to be around them and engage with them intentionally for the gospel. Here are a few ideas for doing mission and evangelism this summer.
*With each encounter we should prayerfully have a handful of questions to discern a person's spiritual life, and look for an opportunity to invite them to a deeper conversation. Asking things like, "Do you have a faith background?" "Do you go to church anywhere?" or "What do you believe about Jesus?" are good ways to get to your own testimony and ask if they would be interested in further conversation. Once you have exchanged contact information, you can then set up a time to talk with them about the gospel over coffee, lunch, dinner in your home, or just casual conversation while engaging in one of these ideas. Following up in ongoing relationship and continual gospel conversations over the course of time is the key to effective disciple making.
Spend time in your front yard- There are all kinds of kids in my neighborhood. It's amazing how simply having a presence outside with my kids and some sidewalk chalk, a ball, scooter, or bikes will attract other kids. Through kids you can build relationships with parents to engage with.
Prayer walk your neighborhood- Create a rhythm of walking and praying in your neighborhood a few times a week. You will likely cross paths with others who are exercising, walking their dogs, or just out in their yards or porches. Instead of just powering by them, stop and introduce yourself. Learn their names and prayerfully try to make a connection.
Grill in your driveway- Pick a few evenings this summer to roll your grill down to the end of your driveway or street corner and set up some lawn chairs to eat outside. Grill some hotdogs or burgers, and offer them to anyone who walks or drives by. You will be amazed at how many people will stop for a free hotdog. Offer them to sit and chat with you.
Invite other families to swim with you- If you are blessed to have a pool in your yard or community, you have a magnet for people. Instead of just swimming with your family and Christian friends, invite lost neighbors, co-workers, other friends to spend the day at the pool with your family. Spend time talking to them, learning their stories, talk about what you believe and why.
Take your kids to the playground- Create a rhythm of going to the same park at the same time of day a few days a week. This includes splash pads or water parks. People are creatures of habit, and you will start to notice some of the same people are regulars in these places. While standing around watching your children play, engage the parents that are standing around.
Play sports- If you are active and like competition, gather some friends from your community group or d-group, and go play a sport a few evenings during the week. Parks like Tom Sawyer, Cherokee, Shawnee, and Highview consistently have people playing pickup basketball, frisbee, and other things. Have fun, play good defense to the glory of God, and get to know the people you are playing with.
Go to community events- Most communities have Facebook pages or information websites that you can find out about activities they organize during the summer. Craft fairs, yard sales, movies nights, card games, there are all sorts of things that people are organizing in your community via the internet. Find out where they are, show up, get to know and engage the people there.
Create your own event- If the community doesn't offer an event you and your family could be involved with, create your own. Start a walking club. A car wash. Park clean up. Community kickball game. Think of creative ways to get people outside to connect with them. Post about your event on the Facebook page.
Organize a cookout- Get with one other couple from your d-group and organize a cookout. Make flyers and invite every person on your block or child's ball team. Set up some way to RSVP so you can plan accordingly. Make a connection and exchange contact info with everyone who comes.
Hand out freeze pops- If you don't like the grill idea, post up in a strategic area, and hand out freeze pops. Anyone who stops to take one, spend time getting to know them while you cut off the top of the package.
D-Groups are our evangelism training program at Highview. People learn how to be missional by being in and around the life of a missional person. This article by Robby Flack of Downline ministries gives 4 ideas for building an evangelistic culture in your D-Group.
Students can intentionally make disciples too. The school campus is a ripe mission field. Check out the story of a high school student named Anna Heyward who caught the vision of disciple making by her coach. Article published by Legacydisciple.org.