Serve Your Community with These 22 Church Outreach Ideas

Emma DavisUncategorized Leave a Comment

A church outreach program is the connection between your church and your surrounding local community. By investing in your outreach ministry, your church members will grow in their faith as they serve, and your community will know your church better and experience God’s love in new ways.

This doesn’t require a big budget or a five-year plan. You can simply start with whatever is in your hand that you can offer to your neighbor. A successful church outreach event is well thought out and meets its goal of serving the community.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

What is Outreach?

Outreach ministry is a common practice that helps a church spread God’s word and share His love with the community and the world at large. It remains a critical part of most churches, however, doesn’t require a lot to get started.

Churches can do this by sharing stories and teaching lessons from the bible. They can also share his love by living by his example. Jesus took what He had in His hands and fed a large group of people in Matthew.

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” – Matthew 14:17-20

Church Outreach Ideas

There are endless ways you can serve your community members. No idea is too small or too insignificant. If just one person is helped, then you’ve succeeded. Let your imagination run and be creative with how you reach your local community with outreach events.

1. Prayer Ministry

Through a Prayer Ministry, prayer recipients can overcome struggles with anger, fear, stress, anxiety, shame, trauma, sexual sins, and depression as well as other undesired behaviors and thought patterns. Prayer ministry can help free recipients from any hindrances to their relationship with God and others, and to becoming all that He created us to be. The mission of any prayer ministry is to intercede to God constantly on behalf of the church leaders and its members, and encourage and motivate the church members to develop a prayer life!

2. Food Pantry

A food pantry is a great way to connect with the needs of your community. It only needs to be open a few days a week and can be run by volunteers who are willing to give up some of their time. Setting up a food pantry also allows you to connect with local businesses so that you can partner with them for donations and support.

3. Thrift Store

Much like the food pantry, a thrift store is very similar. Collect gently worn donations of clothes, shoes, perhaps even furniture. You can set the prices low, and set it up like a thrift store, allowing people to browse and shop for what they need. You can decide if you’d like the thrift store to operate on prices or be a free store for people who can’t afford clothes otherwise.

4. Financial Health Classes

Seeing as taxes are due for most people every April, the winter is a great time to hold financial health classes. You can extend these classes so they’re held biannually and invite your entire community. Ask members of your church if they’re comfortable teaching any financial health classes. You may have a CPA in your group or a financial organizer.

5. Organize a Prayer Walk

Organize a prayer walk through your community as a way to engage with the neighborhood and intercede for its residents. Gather a group of church members and walk through the area, praying for the needs of the community, schools, businesses, and local government. As you walk, consider offering prayer on-site for those you encounter. This can be a powerful way to connect with people and demonstrate your church’s commitment to serving and supporting the community through prayer.

6. Coffee Shop

Does your church already have a coffee bar set up? Consider opening it up to more than just Sunday mornings to reach the community around you. This will require a dedicated space for people to come in and get coffee and light food items, as well as a place for them to sit. What better place for people to come and get their morning coffee and start out the day right than the house of God?

You can even have an open mic night and encourage community members to come and share appropriate music or poems. If you charge a small fee, you can use it toward your church’s other community outreach programs.

Even better, if your church building has a kitchen, or you have access to a kitchen, you can prepare snacks to serve at your coffee house. All you need is a coffee machine, some basic disposable supplies, a refrigerator and a sign at your front door promoting your church outreach ideas.

7. Grief Support

It is hard for people to ask for help, and it can be really tough for people that feel like they don’t have anyone to go to. Using God’s Word as a foundation, connect people to an authentic community, helping them avoid the isolation of “toughing it out,” postponing their grief or minimizing their pain in an effort to cope with their sorrow.

8. Mom’s Morning Out

This outreach idea’s focus is on women’s ministry and it happens during the morning and provides mothers an opportunity to get out and get some stuff accomplished without having to include everyone. It can be difficult as a mom to feel like you’ve accomplished anything in your day. Consider having a once a week daycare program where parents can bring their kids to learn about God and meanwhile have time to run errands.

9. Community garden

Attract people to the church with a community garden on the church property. Invite neighbors to participate in planting and harvesting. Ask a church member knowledgeable about gardening to teach those interested how to plant and maintain their gardens.

10. Local Service Projects

Partner with a local charity, a local school, and other parts of the community to find out their needs. If you don’t communicate with the people around you, you’ll never know what they are in need of.

Local service project ideas:

  • Cleaning up a local park
  • Mow people’s lawns
  • Rake leaves
  • Paint old fences or buildings
  • Spruce up an old playground
  • Host a river clean up
  • Knit blankets for babies in the NICU
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter

11. Back to School Supplies

Host a “fill up a backpack” event at church. The cost can vary slightly depending on the materials gathered. Roughly a donation of $20 per backpack should work just fine. Set up a walkthrough station that allows people to fill up a backpack for an elementary, middle, or high school student at a local school.

This is a fun activity and kids really enjoy putting together each bag. Once the bags have been packed, take them to a school or multiple schools to bless them.

12. Community library

You may have seen neighbors with a small lending library box outside their homes. Ask a handyman in the church to build a library lending box, then place it outside the church. Fill it with gospel-friendly books for children and adults alike (or with other things like canned goods.) Encourage church members to donate gently used books to put in your library.

13. VBS

Vacation Bible School (VBS) is a very popular outreach idea that many churches participate in. Often this is a great time for kids to invite their friends who might not normally attend church. When a child attends church and wants to go, the likelihood of their parent attending church increases exponentially.

VBS usually takes place during the summer hence the “vacation” part in the name. Since kids aren’t in school, parents are always looking for safe activities for their children to do. Not only is VBS fun for the kids but it’s a great place for them to learn about Jesus and connect with other kids.

14. Family Movie Night

Gathering together at church is be a fun event for the whole family to enjoy. You can bring some of the best movies from the big screen to your very own congregation.

Hosting a church movie night is a wonderful fellowship opportunity to share God’s love in a relaxed environment. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring in people from the community and enjoy quality time with your church family!

Pick out a movie, purchase a movie license, choose the best location, and set out some popcorn and snacks! Make sure to share about your movie night on social media and get the word out. Check out our list of fun family-friendly movies and what you’ll need to have a successful movie night.

15. Special Worship Night

Organize a worship night at your church that occurs once a year or even a couple of times a year. Invite other worship leaders to participate to even give your own team a break. This should be different from a Sunday morning worship service or any other services you have.

Create a space to allow God to be present and move. This is the time to create a welcoming environment and allow church members to invite friends.

16. Community Yard Sale

Think of something meaningful in your community you’d like to raise money for and put together a community-wide yard sale to raise funds. Community members get to come interact with you when they donate their sale items to the yard sale, and then they get to interact with your church again when they come to the actual event! Don’t underestimate the number of volunteer hours that will need to go into sorting, cleaning, and pricing the items that people bring.

17. Free Car Wash

The key to this outreach is to not take any amount of money. People will want to donate, but you’ll have the biggest impact if you don’t let them. Find a place with a good, central location with a water hookup for your event. Set up a Facebook event and invite the community. Make sure that you communicate clearly that your church is looking to serve the community and will not be taking any money for it.

Have some cards made up for the event with your church location and service times, and hand them out to the people who are getting their cars washed!

18. Write letters to Prisoners

For those incarcerated, writing and receiving letters and building connections with people outside of prison can provide a sense of hope, validation, and especially encouragement. This is a great church outreach idea that can provide hope and a sense of community to those who need one.

There are several ways to find an incarcerated person to write to. If you already have a personal connection to someone incarcerated, you’ll need their full name, the ID number they have been assigned by the Department of Corrections, and then full name and address of the facility where they are housed in order to mail the letter.

You can also find any organization that connects volunteers with incarcerated individuals who are looking for writing partners. These organizations can provide a safe, structured way to start a pen pal relationship. 

19. Partner with Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is a great nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. They believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. Habitat for Humanity does so much for local communities such as home construction, older adult home repair, and disaster response. Since 1976, Habitat has helped over 46 million people improve their living conditions.

20. Pen Pal Program

Create a pen pal program with seniors who are in care facilities. Seniors are often isolated and lonely and making a new friend is a way to ward off loneliness, and it brings a sense of joy and curiosity. Having a new friend makes for a feeling of belonging which gives people satisfaction. 

A pen pal can help reduce the chances of depression and even improve mental health. Pen pal friendships are great for those who are hard of hearing because the written word does not involve listening and can be an easier form of relating to someone.

21. Business Leaders’ Prayer Breakfast

Business owners and entrepreneurs are innovative and community-focused. Invite these leaders for breakfast at a local restaurant. Lead them in prayer, provide a short message, and allow plenty of time for fellowship and networking. 

22. Tutoring

Consider how your church could establish or support a tutoring program. Ask the congregation for volunteers to tutor kids in math, reading, and other core subjects. Provide a meeting place for tutors and students at the church or the school. Talk with local school leaders about the subjects kids need help with and possibly identify children who need tutoring.


There are so many amazing opportunities to get involved in your community. With the weather getting nicer outside, it’s time to start planning those Spring church outreach ideas! From a community yard sale to a toy drive, find a cause your passionate about.

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