by Jeff Stratton
Valentine's Day — What a great time to share the Good News of Jesus' love!
Two years ago, I introduced the "Jesus Loves You Project" to our congregation. The concept wasn't original with me; I got the idea from my Dad and brother's church in Ottawa, KS, and adapted it for our context. After a little research, I found that we could purchase carnations online in bulk for about $.50 apiece. Our people raised enough funds to order 600 carnations, and boxes with hundreds of flowers were delivered by FedEx on the Wednesday before Valentine's Day. That evening, instead of Bible Study, we prepared the carnations for distribution. We clipped the stems and attached a tag to each one. On one side of the tag we had printed God's message of love to everyone: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). On the other side of the tag we printed our church logo and contact information, as well as the simple message, "Jesus loves you, and we do too!"
That Sunday evening we shared the love of Jesus with our community, knocking on doors and handing out flowers. People who were initially hesitant to answer the door were quickly disarmed when they saw a smile and a carnation, and heard, "Happy Valentine's Day! Jesus loves you!" We also distributed flowers to the faculty and staff at the elementary school next door, and gave them to people coming in and out of the Target store in town. Almost everyone expressed their gratitude, many with tears in their eyes.
As a church, we found this to be an enjoyable and unique kind of outreach. Church people who were nervous about knocking on doors and inviting others to church enjoyed handing out flowers with a Gospel message. Community people who had never heard of our church learned about us in a very positive way. We received thank-you notes and phone calls from several. And we had such a great time sharing Jesus' love with our community that we did it again last year—and will do it a third time in a few weeks!