Leader to Leader What a Koozie Can Do July 1, 2017 | Posted by Emilie Finke SHARE: Some may say summer starts when they first jump in the pool or spend an evening at the ballpark. My summer starts when I stuff 1,000 koozies. Every June, our church orders approximately one kajillion koozies and stuffs them with invite and app cards. It’s our official start of outreach season. It’s my official start of summer. Now, some of you may not understand the hype around koozies. I certainly don’t. But Southerners, for some reason or another, are obsessed with koozies. They go crazy over them. Apparently, they are really against cold hands while drinking beverages. So, we order the koozies, we stuff them with invite cards and then we show up. Seriously. We just… show up. My church spent this past weekend at Wing Fest and Brew Fest. These are events the city throws for the masses. That means our church didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars organizing a huge outreach event in our parking lot. We didn’t have to spend hundreds of man-hours planning and executing a “Summer Fest” or “Sun-stravaganza.” Other people put together the events. Other people spent the money and figured out permits and police enforcements and ticket sales. Other people did the marketing and advertising. We just showed up. We showed up, set up our booth and prayed over our koozies. Then the gates opened (gates we did not have to acquire or assemble) and the people flooded in (people we did not pepper with flyers or Facebook ads) and we handed them koozies. We laughed at their jokes. We answered their questions. We prayed with them. (We also ate chicken wings and drank beer with them. Not a bad gig, y’all. Not a bad gig.) We connected with literally thousands of people by simply showing up. “Wait, is this a real church?” “What are you guys doing here?” “Oh my gosh, this is awesome.” Some koozies get thrown back into our faces. Some get tucked into kitchen cabinets for years. But some spark conversation. Some spark curiosity. Some spark a desire to return to the Church. We show up, pray hard and make ourselves available in places people don’t expect to encounter the Church. In return, we pray the Holy Spirit uses us and our koozies and our invite cards. We pray he continues to nudge at hearts long after the gates are closed and the booths torn down. If your church isn’t into outreach, difficulty and price can no longer be used as excuses. If your church wants to reach the community but feels underfunded or overwhelmed by the idea of planning an event, maybe put that idea aside for a while. Maybe just show up in your city. Bring your people, perhaps some koozies or bottled water, and spend some time in your community. See what God does. Because God can use a million different events and ideas in a million different ways. And God can do a lot more through you when you show up than when you don’t. Happy outreaching, friends. Blog, congregations, Emilie Finke, LCEF, LCMS, Leader to Leader, Lutheran Church Extension Fund, outreach, What a Koozie can do?