In January, Mike Hansen (our outreach director) and I had lunch. Over lunch we came up with a simple idea for alerting people to serving opportunities in our community. It was a classic "on a napkin" idea that never even get it on the napkin because I had to wipe off the hot sauce mess from my tacos.
Playing off of an idea we had seen Erin at Lakeview Pantry use, we decided Mike would begin sending out a monthly email in the first week of the month telling people about an opportunity to serve the following (second) week of the month. Feeling a burst of creative energy, we decided to call this revolutionary thingy 2nd Week Serve. (Mike and I are a creative force when properly filled with frijoles and hot sauce.)
Mike then went about setting up an email listserve and having his brother design a logo--nice touch! Then we put some info in the weekly bulletins and connection cards at Lakeview and Lincoln Park and mentioned it occassionally on Sundays.
The first month we had 50 people signed up and 25 people show up to the first serving opportunity bagging and delivering groceries with Lakeview Pantry. (If I had known just how powerful hot sauce was, we would have started drinking it much sooner.)
Two months later, there are now over 80 people on the list and in April there are 3 different 2nd Week Serve opportunities. At this point Mike is trying to figure out how to expand the opportunities because the desire is for more serving chances.
I share this because I think its important to demystify how God-ideas can go from a conversation over lunch to a valuable mobilization tool that has simple technology tools, limited promotion and no budget. Sometimes the only thing standing between you and a powerful ministry opportunity is a little implemented ingenuity and creativity. Who knows what God could do with the ideas He's put in you if you'd just step out and experiment.
And here's the other thing--with an approach like this, if the idea doesn't work out, you can fold your tent and try another idea. Sometimes its the hot sauce talking and sometimes its the Holy Spirit. Time will help you discern the difference. Everything is an experiment--try it and flow with it if it seems God is blowing winding in the sail.