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Ministry Ideas for Acts of Kindness
By:Carolyn Scheidies

Acts of Kindness reach places preaching won't. What a ministry says about grace and kindness needs to be backed up by actions that make a difference in the lives of individuals and families. Those in a ministry reach out beyond the walls of the sanctuary by acting on needs they hear about or see around them with specific acts of kindness that put actions to words.

Encourage a Friend
Make a list of those in your congregation or among your contacts, friends, family, work or other acquaintances who may need to be encouraged. Have those on the ministry team choose someone from the list. On a regular basis, as an act of kindness, send cards to inspire or encourage. Send special cards on holidays. If the person faces an especially difficult day such as the anniversary of the loss of a loved one, send a special card. Add a verse of scripture if appropriate. If you already know the person, you might even offer a shoulder and a listening ear.

Clean a House
There are times when a person, due to illness or accident, may not be able to take care of her house. For many, just knowing the house isn't getting attention is a stress they don't need. As an act of kindness, members of the ministry team can call and ask if they can help out. Two or three can quickly dust, vacuum, even do laundry for an individual unable to do so alone. If the person is unable to get around for some time, have a sign-up list, get other members of the congregation involved, and allow others to offer their time to clean and help out.

Entertain the Kids
Mothers can be overwhelmed. New mothers need to rest and recuperate. Mothers who have older children find resting and recovering after the birth of a new baby almost impossible. Members of the ministry team can reach out and offer to take the older children for the afternoon or evening. Someone with children of similar ages may find this act of kindness benefits both families as the children play together. Even those without children can take the children for a few hours to a park, a movie or to some entertainment center to give the new mother time to rest.

Books for the Library
Small-town libraries don't usually have the same resources as larger libraries. As acts of kindness, a ministry can ask the library for a list of needs, especially book titles. Publish the list in the newsletter, in the bulletin or send out flyers to the congregation about the need. The congregation can donate specific books or donate money for books. If the library is willing, the ministry can collect books of all kinds, and have a book sale at the library with the proceeds going to buying the specific needs of the library.

Kids Acts of Kindness
In Sunday School, Awana, Scouts or other religious or other programs for kids, encourage acts of kindness. Have them make a list of things they can do for siblings, family members, friends or neighbors from cleaning their sister's room and setting the dinner table, to weeding the flower bed of an elderly neighbor. If they wish to make a card of encouragement, provide crayons and markers. Give the kids a chance to have the joy of sharing with the group what they did and how it made them feel.