There are some new books out that Group Publishing has produced which are intended to help churches and small groups reach out within their community. Inside each of these volumes are simple, practical ideas for groups to get outside the church walls and make their presence known in the community.
The first is They Will Know Us By Our Love. This book is designed specifically with small groups in mind and lays out the different opportunities in five sections - serving within your community in general, serving your church, serving your small group, serving your friends & family & serving those with special needs. This book lists 101 different ideas to serve with your small group in those five categories. You can choose from tutoring children to hosting a town festival to doing a prayer walk in your community. Each idea has a verse accompanying it to meditate on, a description of the activity, questions for reflection after the service and helpful hints for the serve. Also, for each service, there are icons which help you gauge duration (one time, short-term or ongoing), types (getting to know people, behind the scenes, honoring people, supporting people, and giving to people), as well as best time of year for the serve.
The next two books are in Group's Body-Building Guide series. The first is the guide to community - Strengthening Relationships in Your Church, and the second is the guide to outreach - Stretching Out to Your Community. These books each offer 15 practical ways to either build community with people in your church or reach out to those outside the church. In Strengthening Relationships, your church can build community
through racial reconciliation
among children and adults
through date nights
through membership retreats
Each chapter tells a story of someone who had a heart for the type of community being built - for example racial reconciliation. Then the book shares the vision of that person and how your church can take steps to build community racially. Each chapter outlines types of meetings or events to get the conversation started & then the chapter ends with an implementation guide which guides the leader through the process. In Stretching Out, the chapters work just the same with topics including reaching out to
nursing home residents
One book that kind of encompasses everything is Outreach Ministry in the 21st Century. This encyclopedia of ideas has 200+ ideas within eight sections which include
Making your Church visible
Equipping your Church for outreach
Bible Studies for people who don't know the Bible
Sharing Jesus in your daily life
Simple service ideas
Caring for the long haul - ideas for long-term service
Going out into the world - ideas for missions
Each of these sections then get broken down and offer many ideas within different areas or using different people within your church. From biblical studies on the movie Nacho Libre, to how to host a book club to holding a spiritual talent search, the ideas are in-depth and help your community make faith a part of their everyday life in church, in their jobs and in their homes.