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Monday, July 24, 2006

Mission Moment Highlights Welcome Bags

Thanks to Mary (Minnesota Preacher Woman) for contributing to Monday Mission Moment today. “ Welcome to the Community Bags” are part of the church’s evangelism efforts as well as a service to new residents of the community. Here is Mary’s description of the project:

"The Welcome Bags have worked well for our congregation to welcome newcomers into our community. As a background, our community has a population of 2,500, is growing very rapidly and is a bedroom community to a larger city. The program is based upon a “Welcome Wagon” idea – and there was no Welcome Wagon in our community.

We went to a screen print store and bought large tote bags and had“Welcome to (our community) from (our church)” printed on the front along with the city logo. At the same time that we had the bags made, we solicited each area business to be a part of the Welcome Bags. They paid $100 to be included in the bags for a period of 2 years. The businesses were encouraged to include brochures or information about their business along with any goodies that they wanted to include. Some businesses used coupons or “2 for one” deals.

Many included goodies, like toothpaste from the dental office. The plumber included a box of great chocolates with the note that their customers deserve to be treated well. A travel agent included a travel mug. Our congregation included a brochure about ourselves and ourpreschool, along with a pen and some post-it notes.

Our city office provides the addresses of all the new residents from the past month. We put a nice tag on each bag along with an address of a newcomer. The bags hang on a coat rack in our entryway. Each week the announcement section of Sunday’s bulletin lists the new addresses we received from the post office that week. Members of the congregation take bags for their new neighbors.

The key to this program is that the bags are delivered by many members of the church. The outreach or evangelism is not just done by the pastor the evangelism committee, but it is done by the membership of the congregation. Many have commented how fun it has been to go and welcome newcomers to our community and invite them to our church.

We currently have 16 businesses involved of the program so the $1,600 completely paid for the tote bags and the goodies we included in the bags.

We made a contract for the businesses to sign – I would be willing to share a copy of the contract or answer any questions you may have about the program."

Don't forget to send your nominations for Wednesday Festival posts in today--use the handy email link on the sidebar. You can nominate one of your own posts, or someone else's. Your Festival hosts thank you for contributions! Keep sending ideas for Monday Mission Moment as well.


  1. Wow -- that's really a great story! Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

  2. I love that the delivery of the bags is shared. It makes so much sense in terms of logistics. It also makes any resulting conversations so much richer--neighbors can talk knowledgably with newcomers about what the nearby elementary school is like, where the nearest swimming pool is, etc.

  3. Ooh I like this. We have been looking at how we are going to do evangelism here, since I am new, and they have not been doing anything in awhile. What a neat idea. Thanks.

  4. Great idea. Hospitals often give similar bags to new Moms. I wonder if you can get into those?

  5. This is great! I'm going to think about how we might do something similar.

  6. Thanks for sharing this with us. I love the idea of welcome bags!

  7. Hi

    How have you gone with privacy laws. We have tried to start something similar to this, but have been unable to get the addresses of new people because of privacy legislation.

    It's a great idea and we would love to do it so any help about this issue would be great.

  8. what an interesting idea.

    Not sure that in Finland they are allowed to give out information of new people though -- but we could do something like this for students ... you've made me think at least :)

  9. A response to revem's questions about privacy laws: Before we started the project I met with the city manager. He consulted our city attorney who said that laws said that we could have the addresses but not the names of the new residents in our community. I am not certain if those were state laws or federal laws that governed what information we could have or not have, but I would definitely recommend finding this out as a first step if you wanted to have a similar project. I have encouraged the people who bring welcome bags to find out the names of their new neighbors and share them with me. I have also sent our monthly newsletter to the new residents for several months, as further contact. My favorite part of this project is that the members are the ones who are welcoming and inviting - and they have really enjoyed doing it.


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