Our church was very generous with money for missions. Our budget grew every year with plans for more and more outreach efforts in our community and around the world. So we didn't have a giving problem.
However, our local missions leadership team felt we could do more if people understood the line item in the budget we were giving to, they wanted to challenge people to give their individual time to a local mission our church supported financially not just money.
So Hands-On Saturday was born, a monthly series of Saturday mornings when people were asked to give four hours of their time to volunteer at a local mission we supported financially.
We'd all carpool to a local mission site, hear a short presentation from the onsite director about the need they were addressing and their dreams, the number of lives changed both individual and families, and then we rolled up our sleeves and got busy! We did anything they needed us to do.
Over the course of several months we:
- worked to build homes in our community
- sorted and delivered food to the food pantry
- helped remodel and paint rooms in a shelter for women and children
- collected clothes and bedding for the homeless and a crisis pregancy center
Each line item in the budget we supported was visited.
We promoted Hands-On Saturday to our entire church and had several groups sign up for specific mission areas. Groups that stepped up to serve were: Sunday school classes, the youth, men's group, and some small group Bible studies.
The results we saw were:
- several groups who worked together decided to adopt the mission for their group on an ongoing basis throughout the year
- people who went became great supporters and provided testimonies of what our church money was supporting, and the ongoing needs and dreams
- giving increased to missions and people were excited about what we were doing
- and we had some people who felt a call to lead in an area that had greater needs than we were currently meeting
- and some people just dreamed of new ways to reach out to our community
A simple challenge to give up part of a Saturday provided a way for people to serve in a much needed mission in our community.
[Note: At the same time our church also had a separate international mission team whose leaders were educating the church on the areas and missionaries we were supporting.]