At the outset of our planning, it became quickly apparent that our outreach event needed the full support and cooperation of our entire LifeGroup. So, as we began, we simply brainstormed ideas to answer the basic questions: why, what, when, where, who, and how.

The “why” was relatively simple—we wanted to follow the directives of Scripture and honor the Lord of our lives. Our commission is to “Go into the world…,” not simply sit and wait for people to come to us. We concluded we needed to be proactive in extending invitations to become part of our LifeGroup, and ideally, part of the Chase Oaks family, leading to becoming part of the Family of God. We coupled that compelling commission with the Commandments the Lord taught were central: to love God first and to demonstrate our love for Him through our love for others, beginning with our love for one another.

Additionally, the underlying theme of our desire to have a LifeGroup outreach event was to remind us that the purpose of the LifeGroup, as the purpose of our individual lives, isn’t to focus all we do on ourselves. The goal from the outset of the group, as we understand it, is to multiply, exponentially expanding to include anyone and everyone we can reach to the glory of our Savior.

dna-icons-party-smlAs the process began to develop, our thoughts turned to “what?” What will be the best platform or context for the outreach? What would be appealing to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others to whom we would extend an invitation? We were guided by one of our DNA statements: “It’s Not Our Party!” We wanted to plan something that would not only be good for us but motivating and enjoyable for those who weren’t yet part of our faith family.

Another element of our thinking led us to consider a suitable, nonthreatening environment away from the church building, where we could allow our love for one another to be appealing to those who came, as it was in the in the book of Acts, in the infancy of the Church. But we also wanted those who came to know they could “come as you are,” and we would accept them without condition.

It was October when we began to plan in earnest, so the logical direction led us to a Christmas party. The next hurdle was the “when?” After discussion, we decided upon an agreeable date.

The “where” for us was relatively simple because we have members of our group who graciously offered their home as the location for our party. We had a wonderful assortment of appetizers and desserts but didn’t prepare a meal because we wanted the emphasis to be on mingling and interacting with our guests, not being confined to a specific space with limited opportunity for broader interaction.

Finally, as we began to strategize and seek to put the proverbial puzzle together, the “how” became the focus of our planning. Members of the group volunteered to coordinate different areas (e.g., refreshments, entertainment, decorations, supplies, preparations). We didn’t feel the need to have a “program.” Rather, we wanted our members to have the freedom to engage our guests in meaningful conversation.  We wanted our guests to be able to interact with different members of our LifeGroup, not simply stay glued to the person(s) who invited them.

After a successful Christmas party, we’re now looking to the spring for our next outreach, with perhaps an outdoor park as a location, with timing to allow us to invite our guests to an Easter service. The timing of our Christmas outreach resulted in some of our guests responding positively to an invitation to one of our Christmas Eve services.

The idea, of course, is to plan the outreach event to coordinate with a church event in the near future to which we can invite our guests. The good news is our worship is so excellent and appealing and our pastors are so compelling in their messages. The reality is any Sunday is a positive “event” to which we can unashamedly and joyfully invite anyone to “come and see” for themselves what an awesome fellowship we have and what an amazing God we serve.

thank-you-notesFollowing our event, we sent “Thank You” notes to all the guests for whom we could gather contact information and encouraged each member who brought guests to stay in touch with them and encourage them to visit one of our LifeGroup meetings and/or a service at church.

All in all, it was a worthwhile endeavor, one on which we hope to build in future events. If you have questions or would desire more information, you may contact our LifeGroup leader, Steve Rose at [email protected] or our co-leader, Ed Hager at .

One of the great ways to get connected at Chase Oaks is to join a LifeGroup. To find a LifeGroup near you, use our LifeGroup Locator Tool. If you are already in a LifeGroup, stay tuned to our blog and Facebook page for local outreach opportunities your group can participate in to make a difference together.