Mobilize Your Church on Send Relief Sunday

student volunteering with Send Relief in Florida panhandle over spring break

Send Relief Sunday is an annual event on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar and is designated as a focus on how churches and church members are involved in gospel-centered compassion ministries that meet needs, build relationships, and change lives.

Send Relief Sunday, observed July 14 this year, will be an exciting day across North America as churches focus on the Great Commandment. Here are some ways you can lead individuals in expressing their love for God and their love for neighbors:

  1. Recognize church members who actively lead or serve in your community. Every church is filled with members who volunteer or work with compassion ministries. In the weeks before Send Relief Sunday, survey your congregation to find out who is serving and recognize them during the worship service that day. The recognition will encourage them and allow their passion to go viral.
  2. Collect items for community organizations in your city or surrounding cities. Did you know local law enforcement officers need items to give to human trafficking victims? Did you know schools need food to send home with kids over weekends? When children first go into foster care, they need clothes and hygiene products. When refugees arrive, they need pots, plates, and utensils. Ask your church to donate items that can be given to organizations on the front lines serving those in need. Download Send Relief Ministry Guides to help you step by step with many scenarios.
  3. Serve in your city after the worship service. Invite Sunday School classes, your youth group, and other affinities in your church to pour into the community and provide a great day for your neighbors. Sunday School classes can prearrange for cookouts at local firehouses and police stations to minister to the staff and their families. Families can bring games and frozen treats to a park for neighbors to enjoy. Students can walk the halls of nursing homes delivering smiles and songs. Outreach doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive—just sincere with the love and message of Christ.
  4. Provide a discovery luncheon after church. Ask community partners whose mission is to provide compassion ministries to set up displays with information about their work. During the luncheon, allow time for them to share stories of transformed lives. Also allow time for questions and then direct members to ways they can be involved. Capture the excitement of the day by planning various service days with these partners in the weeks after Send Relief Sunday.
  5. Set up a photo gallery in a common area highlighting transformed lives, opportunities, and needs. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Ask community partners for pictures that illustrate their work. Print the pictures out and place them in a hallway, lobby, or entrance area. You can also print pictures that draw attention to marginalized groups of people Scripture commands us to serve—orphans, the homeless, foreigners, the helpless, etc. Under each picture, provide a website or social media handle for members to learn more. Encourage members to make this a prayerwalk as well, lifting up individuals they are learning about in the community. Direct individuals to SendRelief.org/news for more stories in videos, articles, and the Stories of Hope podcast.
  6. Lead in prayer for your community. Encourage small groups to pray together for specific groups in your community—teachers, law enforcement officers, business owners, transit workers, etc. If possible, provide encouragement to these groups via cards, posters, or banners. Let community leaders and organizations know you are praying for them. Deliver these expressions of support, along with baskets of fruit or cookies, the week following Send Relief Sunday.

Send Relief Sunday could slip by without making much of an impression on your church or community. But what if it became a day to joyfully anticipate the opportunity to embrace the community Christ calls you to love? May God use you in mighty ways as you lead others to send help and hope.


Lorna Bius serves in Clarkston, Georgia, as a Send Relief missionary with the North American Mission Board.

 

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