Top Ten Tips for Olympic Sized Outreaches

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Top ten tips for Rio 2016

Running Olympic outreaches

Leading and coordinating the Olympic outreach coordinating team


Team leader

  1. Spend lots of time in prayer and keep listening to God.
  2. Spend time in research and asking questions of previous outreaches.
  3. Have a long-term outcome (such as planting new long-term teams) planned from the beginning.
  4. Have one application form across all organisations, in different languages.
  5. Decentralise the finances.
  6. You can never have enough leaders involved in recruiting teams.
  7. The need for a good clear team structure, with clarity on who reports to whom.
  8. Have people networking both on the ground and nationally.
  9. Have a good logistics team/people in each location.
  10. Know when it is good to be flexible and when it is not.

Team planting

  1. When working in a new area, do not try to work with every ministry or church. Instead, find a few opportunities you are able to invest in and focus on those.
  2. Don’t come with the mindset of working 9–5 Monday–Friday. This doesn't work when pioneering. Be okay with days not always being filled with things to do.
  3. God has called you to be part of what He is doing in the location you are planting in. Some churches will see that you are coming to serve them, which you are, but you are also there to partner with them.
  4. Most likely, your experience of team planting will be different from how you picture it. Give God your expectations and let Him use you the way He wants to. Be flexible.
  5. A team plant is not only about starting new things, it is also about serving the church body. This means sometimes coming under the authority of the one leading an existing ministry and blessing them in their needs first by helping them succeed.
  6. There can sometimes be a lack of communication from the local church and organisation leaders you are wanting to work with. This can make it difficult to organise your time effectively as at points you may feel left with nothing to do while you are waiting for some people to get back in contact, which they sometimes don’t!
  7. Stay in line with what God is saying to you, even if it differs from advice people give you. At times this can be hard, but looking back you will be pleased you followed through on what you believe God to have been saying. Saying this though – do seek wise counsel.
  8. If you can, meet each new potential team member and spend time with them in person before you invite them to join your team. If this isn’t possible, spend time getting to know them over skype, email and phone calls. It is not worth having someone unsuitable on your team just to make the numbers look good, even if there seems to be no one else to work with.
  9. Make sure you have a clear vision. Know what God is calling you to and stick to it.
  10. Make sure you have financial, prayerful, pastoral and practical support in place for both the team plant and the team members, especially from your YWAM sending location.
  11. Be aware of the spiritual battles you will face as you start your ministry.

Running a DTS Gathering

  1. The atmosphere of the DTS Gatherings is really important.
    1. Make outreaches and evangelism a key part of the week. Have as many different outreach opportunities as you can, to cater for all types of personalities and gifts and to show a wide range of evangelism opportunities to the participants.
    2. Make the first outreach time a prayer walk for the whole Gathering over the city, covering as much area as you can. We found this opened doors, brought more of a heart for the city and saw more breakthrough and salvation because of these.
    3. Speakers: make sure that the speakers for the week have lived in or are from and have ministered in Europe, are speakers who are gifted in making evangelism accessible, and are anointed to speak on this subject. A few suggestions for speakers would be: Carl Tinnion, Yan Nicholls, Connie Taylor, Britt Solveig (YWAM Norway), Michael Ramsden (Ravi Zachariah Trust), Andy Hall (ex-YWAM Scotland leader), Kevin Colyer (YWAM Brussels), Mariette Lowe (YWAM Scotland).
  2. Be the first people to arrive and the last to leave.
  3. Always have a team member visit the churches beforehand, to check the kitchen and sleeping facilities, as well as meet the church leaders to discuss expectations and outreach opportunities (visit as many churches as possible, not just the host churches). In this, if possible, be involved in some church services on the Sunday the Gathering begins, to let people know who you are, what you are doing, and that they are welcome to join wherever is appropriate. Remember that the week is about serving the local churches as well as the city.
  4. Make the meals simple and cost-effective. It is highly efficient and beneficial using environmentally friendly disposable plates, cups and bowls.
  5. Keep the budget as low as possible. We asked for £4.50 per participant per day plus the schools weekly honorarium, or £7 per participant per day if they were not part of a school. This covered everything we needed it to, with not much left, but the idea was to make it as affordable as it could be. The Gatherings were partly about supporting new teams so it was more important that schools came than that they paid the honorarium fee.
  6. One of our values was to take offerings toward the end of each Gathering, for new teams as well as any needs God led us to give towards.
  7. Do a city orientation to start each week, which helps people get to know the area, gauge the spiritual atmosphere of the location and have a lot of fun in the process.
  8. Invite as many schools as you can. Many of our participants came from different YWAM locations around Europe. This added great diversity to the Gatherings. Also, invite YWAM staff who are not involved in current schools. Also, we always had at least one SOE join us. This was key in bringing in more evangelists to lead the DTS students in the practical application of outreach.
  9. Organise showers as far in advance as possible, to make sure they are sorted out before the week, as this can be one of the biggest challenges.
  10. Work as a team! Divide the roles and tasks and do everything with a spirit of excellence and service.
  11. For each Gathering, we gave every person a lanyard with their name and the week’s schedule on it. This gave everyone identity and got them talking, as well as avoided constant questions about when things were happening. It may be a little more expensive but is definitely worth it – even from a security point of view of knowing everyone in the church was meant to be there.


Working in new cities

  1. Take time to build relationship and trust with church leaders in the target city. Work with both the larger and smaller churches, be interdenominational.
  2. Pray. Pray for the churches, for the leaders. Encourage them. Ask God to lead you to the right people and to give you favour.
  3. Travel and take time with the church leaders.
  4. See if you can speak at any of the churches, invest in their church.
  5. Run multiple events in the city and run them in partnership with the churches. The DTS Gatherings are perfect for this. Also send outreach teams.
  6. You are there to partner with the churches, not tell them what to do. How can you serve them?
  7. Over-communicate, use email, phone and face to face. Don’t just contact them when you need something.
  8. Work with the civic leaders. Is there any way you can serve the council?
  9. Don’t ask for money. Instead be generous with yours.
  10. How can you build relationships and partnerships into the future? Don’t just think about this year, but about the next five years.

Missions network

  1. Build relationships with as many churches as possible in the focused cities and towns.
  2. Partner with organisations such as More than Gold. But make sure that finances are kept separate and have a uniform application processed separately.
  3. Through relationships recruit outreach teams to come. Visit as many YWAM teams and centres as possible to personally invite them to.
  4. Ensure that as much information as possible is easily accessible in multiple languages on the website.
  5. Recruit teams to come 12 months before as trial runs and to help the churches prepare.
  6. Get church host applications out as early as possible, the same time as the missions teams applications are produced, 18 months out.
  7. Run events in the focus cities before the main event to help build expectation as well as faith and for the churches to see what the possibilities are with short-term outreach teams.
  8. Partner with More Than Gold to help facilitate ‘taster conferences’ as opportunities for outreach team leaders to come and see what it could be like.
  9. Make sure you facilitate a thorough orientation conference on entry of mission teams to culturally orientate them to the nation and make sure that the legal procedures are understood and adhered to. This must be a minimum of 1½ days.
  10. We are YWAM: make the outreach look, taste and smell like YWAM, unashamedly recruit people into full-time missions with YWAM.

Team planting

  1. When working in a new area, do not try to work with every ministry or church. Instead, find a few opportunities you are able to invest in and focus on those.
  2. Don’t come with the mindset of working 9–5 Monday–Friday. This doesn't work when pioneering. Be okay with days not always being filled with things to do.
  3. God has called you to be part of what He is doing in the location you are planting in. Some churches will see that you are coming to serve them, which you are, but you are also there to partner with them.
  4. Most likely, your experience of team planting will be different from how you picture it. Give God your expectations and let Him use you the way He wants to. Be flexible.
  5. A team plant is not only about starting new things, it is also about serving the church body. This means sometimes coming under the authority of the one leading an existing ministry and blessing them in their needs first by helping them succeed.
  6. There can sometimes be a lack of communication from the local church and organisation leaders you are wanting to work with. This can make it difficult to organise your time effectively as at points you may feel left with nothing to do while you are waiting for some people to get back in contact, which they sometimes don’t!
  7. Stay in line with what God is saying to you, even if it differs from advice people give you. At times this can be hard, but looking back you will be pleased you followed through on what you believe God to have been saying. Saying this though – do seek wise counsel.
  8. If you can, meet each new potential team member and spend time with them in person before you invite them to join your team. If this isn’t possible, spend time getting to know them over skype, email and phone calls. It is not worth having someone unsuitable on your team just to make the numbers look good, even if there seems to be no one else to work with.
  9. Make sure you have a clear vision. Know what God is calling you to and stick to it.
  10. Make sure you have financial, prayerful, pastoral and practical support in place for both the team plant and the team members, especially from your YWAM sending location.
  11. Be aware of the spiritual battles you will face as you start your ministry.

Arts

  1. You don't have to be an artist/performer to be get involved in Arts outreaches. Arts outreaches are about doing outreach in creative ways rather than about drawing or dancing.
  2. Be resourceful. It doesn't have to be expensive. Cardboard and marker pens are your new best friend.
  3. Outreaches that involve direct public participation are more effective.
  4. Ask questions that are relevant to where people are at. Questions such as, “What are your dreams?” This is about as personal as it gets. It works.
  5. Get your heart right. People want friendship not the gospel unwillingly shoved down their throat.
  6. Statistically it takes about seven positive encounters with a person who loves Jesus for a decision to be made. Be one of those encounters.
  7. Creative/Performing arts workshops are a great way to teach new skills and share life. It's a non-threatening way to talk about your faith honestly.
  8. Have fun. Creativity is about enjoying what you love doing the most and sharing it with others.

Communications

  1. Create wall calendars for the four months surrounding the Games (June–September).
  2. Be and appear professional in your communications. Purchase or acquire (legally!) whatever software and hardware you need to make it happen.
  3. Make sure you answer any enquiries to your team/project very quickly: don’t keep people who are showing interest waiting.
  4. Do your communications with integrity. Tell the truth, don’t exaggerate, stay within the law on copyright matters (buy your software, don’t us pirated versions).
  5. Think through your communications strategy early on. What do you want to say, who do you want to reach, how are you going to reach them?
  6. Where possible, with communication projects plan ahead. Put the preparation in, and you will reap the benefits later on.
  7. Attract communications people who are good and experienced in their areas – design, web, photography, writing, editing, social networking etc.
  8. Communications is about everything to do with your public face – how you answer the phone, what print you produce, meeting people face to face, etc.
  9. The Olympic outreach is a world event: you need to do all you can to attract the world to come.
  10. Plan well ahead for the main Olympic outreach, look to attract YWAM comms people from all over the world, and appoint one person to oversee the whole comms team during the Games.
  11. The world of communications is changing all the time. Keep up with the latest developments and think through what you need to do to use all available communications avenues.

General Missions and Service

  1. Recruit a mission coordinator to the team to oversee this major area. The role should include the facilitation of the focus areas’ recruitment and networking.
  2. Do not change the application process part way through, stick to the original plan.
  3. Do not be surprised at anything. Everything will happen.
  4. Build good relationships with ministries and churches within the focus city.
  5. Host events and outreach teams before the main event.
  6. Try new things; don’t just do the same old.
  7. Serve long-term projects with short-term teams; this ensures long-term fruit.
  8. Recruit as many teams and individuals as you can, remembering that most come through relationships.
  9. Produce both team and church host application forms at least 18 months before the event.

Prayer

  1. New team members: Send your new team members to visit the various branches of the team and team plants (if there are any) when they first arrive, so that they can grasp the big picture of the team and learn what is happening firsthand in different branches.
  2. Do outreach!: If you are working in a team that is mobilising people to do outreach, it is important to have opportunities as a team to do the same thing that you are asking other people to do.
  3. Pray, pray, pray: Do not underestimate the importance of spiritual covering and prayer in what you are doing. Whatever you are doing, pray! Prayer should be the foundation of the team because prayer invites God into the picture.
  4. Advertise well: When it comes to prayer events and small projects, advertising well is a key.
  5. Be personal: Not only with advertising, but with recruitment and hosting teams it is so important to be as personal as possible. People are more likely to come to events out of relationship and feeling valued.
  6. Available to pray: Be available to pray for people on your team and also for the teams coming in.
  7. Public prayer space: If possible, have a prayer space that people from outreach teams can come and pray whenever they want.
  8. Get involved: While it is good to be available at certain times to pray for teams and team plants, it is also good to go to them for a change. This is both being personal and is a good way to see what God is doing firsthand.
  9. Share stories: Share stories of what God is doing and has done, and review words of what He has promised to do. This is a good way to build faith and expectations.
  10. Worship together: Finally, gather together in worship. This will set people’s focus on Jesus and remind everyone of why they are doing what they are doing.

Social Justice

  1. There are some social justice areas that are suitable for short-term outreaches – working with the homeless and down and outs, for instance.
  2. Raising public awareness of social-justice issues is a good way to do outreach at major sporting events.
  3. Where possible, work with ministries that are already established in a field of social justice in that city. Support their work, don’t create your own (unless you are planning to plant a long-term team).
  4. Human trafficking increases at major sporting events. Outreaches at these events should include some efforts to raise awareness among visitors and residents.
  5. Because of the nature of its work, projects working with people involved in prostitution are not generally suitable for short-term outreaches (other than prayer-walking).


Sports

  1. Run pre-Games events to envision, train and equip local churches in using sport for outreach.
  2. Where possible, work with established sports outreach ministries, helping their long-term vision, rather than just doing short-term, in-and-out outreach.
  3. Network and partner with established sports organisations; don’t just do things by yourself, embrace new and different ideas and don’t reinvent the wheel.
  4. Get the big picture of sports ministries in the country. Don’t just exist in your own bubble.
  5. Once you have established a relationship with another organisation, keep working at it. They could be a great way to ensure visiting outreach teams get connected into existing sports outreaches.
  6. Have one contact person (who lives and works in the hosting community and can sort out relevant ministry opportunities and logistical and practical matters) per outreach team.
  7. If you do detached sports outreach, try to work out how you are going to link it in with local churches and ensure follow-up.
  8. As part of the orientation conference, run breakout sessions where (non-sports) teams can have a go at creating sports outreaches. These might prove useful once they are on the field and presented with a blank page and 30 kids!
  9. One of the hardest things with organising sports outreach is not knowing how many people will turn up. For larger outreach teams it’s important to have some idea of numbers who are coming. Organised sports seem to be more effective, but the key is getting the word out as soon as possible. It’s much easier to plan a sports outreach when you know how many people to expect.
  10. The other tricky part with sports camps is not making it just about sport. God has to be part of it or else it can quickly just turn into a competitive sports time. Teaching biblical characteristics, sharing, encouraging, listening, etc, can easily be incorporated. Also, sharing a testimony towards the end of the time can be very effective. A brief 5–10 minutes before the final event or match is a good idea, and captures the attention of most.


Youth and Children

  1. Find out what churches are already doing, and work out how you could use those to get the idea of children in mission on their radar (eg suggest adding to their ideas by offering to take the children to do evangelism as part of an existing holiday/kids club).
  2. Identify schools, clubs, parks on a map where families spend time and focus teams there – what are local communities already doing and where are they short of helpers?
  3. Consider running some projects, as well as sending teams into other projects.
  4. Encourage all teams (not just youth/children ones) to think about children in their outreaches – something as simple as face-painting can add a lot to street evangelism.
  5. Make it fun.
  6. Train teams in praying for words of knowledge. This has been very effective for teenagers.
  7. Encourage churches to include the youth and children in their outreaches, not just the little jobs, but ideas, hosting, planning, and give them a significant role.
  8. Sign up as part of the ARISE prayer day in April to have children pray for their nation in the run up to the Games.