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Send Relief Sunday: Practical steps churches can take to serve their communities

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sunday, July 19, is Send Relief Sunday and Children’s Ministry Day in the Southern Baptist Convention.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Send Relief is encouraging Southern Baptists everywhere to join together to meet needs and change lives through serving others across the world on Send Relief Sunday (July 19).

“Send Relief Sunday is a way Southern Baptist Christians can help people in need,” said Bryant Wright, president of Send Relief. “It is how we live out Jesus’ Great Commandment and, in the process, open doors to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission.”

Even as churches continue to navigate the challenges brought about by COVID-19, there have been countless stories of Southern Baptists who are making a difference with their acts of service. You can be the hands and feet of Christ in a variety of ways. Even if churches are closed on Send Relief Sunday, you can still tangibly express that care.

Here are a few quick and easy ideas:

For churches:

Create care packages for grocery, delivery and other essential workers. Show kindness by giving employees small bags with healthy snacks, gift cards and other items. Include a note of thanks from your church. Your church could also consider packing bags in advance and working with the manager of a nearby grocery store to arrange delivery to all of the store’s employees.

Collect school supplies. Although many school districts are still uncertain about how or whether to return to the classroom this fall, one certainty is that students will need school supplies. Reach out to local principals and ask which supplies are most needed, and then start a collection. After packing the supplies in bags, work with your local schools to determine the best method of delivery.

Be a prayer warrior. Make lists of people and needs specific to your church’s community, and spend time praying, not just for the people or their needs, but also for God to reveal ways to provide ongoing encouragement and ministry to them.

For families:

Social distancing may prevent us from offering hugs and other expressions of personal touch or care, but it doesn’t have to hamper our creativity when it comes to serving.

Grab a donations box and fill it up. Help your children sort through clothes, toys, books and other items that are in good condition. Identify things that could be given to those less fortunate.

Support foster and adoptive families. An encouraging card in the mail or a meal delivered to their home can make an impact in the life of foster and adoptive families. For those in your community, let them know that you are thinking about and praying for them.

For your children:

Children learn best and feel empowered when they engage in projects on their own. Help them get hands-on, then stand back as they learn to give back with these ministry ideas.

Create thank you cards for medical personnel. Write a note of encouragement or have kids draw pictures for the medical staff at your local hospitals.

Get crafty. Let your child create items — pasta necklaces, painted stones, cookies, etc. — that they can share with neighbors, along with a note of encouragement.

Along with providing an opportunity for these tangible expressions, Send Relief Sunday can also be an opportunity to alert your church to the upcoming Southern Baptist National Day of Service on Sunday, Oct. 4. This will be another chance to meet needs and create avenues for sharing the Gospel.

Ultimately, it is God’s lovingkindness that draws men and women to Him (Jeremiah 31:3). Believers should seek to do this daily — but set Sunday (July 19) aside, especially, to be extensions of God’s lovingkindness to the world. Visit Sendrelief.org to find more ways your church can meet needs and change lives.