Outreach Ideas

There are all kinds of opportunities to meet new people and share the gospel with the lost people in our city. See what kinds of events might suit you or your group and feel free to contribute your own ideas for how to reach out to those around us. 

Community Events

Community Events are a great for meeting people.  One of Xenos’s missionaries was introduced to Christ at a bowling alley years ago by some guys from Xenos who got involved in bowling hoping to meet folks.

Columbus Community - Visit Experience Columbus for a comprehensive listing of Bowling Centers, Golf Courses, Sports, Billiards, and much more.

Mt Carmel Health and Wellness Classes - These classes include everything from fitness to grieving and for all age groups.

Performing Arts - CAPA lists art performances in the Columbus area.

Recreation Centers - Recreation centers offer classes for all ages where you can socialize.  Many other Recreation Centers are available.

  • Whetstone:  3923 N. High St., Columbus, OH  43214 645-3217
  • Worthington: 345 E. Wilson Bridge Rd., Worthington, OH  43085 436-2743
  • Westerville:  350 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH  43082 901-6500
    They offer a variety of classes and program.

Story time - Call local libraries to get a schedule.  Barnes & Noble and Borders also offer story times, call individual location to get schedule.

Xenos Bands - The Drowsy Lads:  Traditional Irish instrumentals & songs.

Sports Events 

  • Blue Jackets NHL is pricey and a chaotic scene, but it’s there.
  • Clippers Baseball is not super popular but it’s cheap.
  • Crew professional soccer. Tailgating is a good social scene. Tickets are cheap (look for newspaper offers & coupons.)  There are a number of Christians on the Crew team. Plenty of people would love to know about our CREW-XENOS Youth Soccer clinic that happens each year in late May.
  • The Ohio State University has a wide variety of sporting events and some sports are very reasonably priced. 

Xenos Pub Night - Watch the Xenos bulletins for when and what bands are playing in this hugely successful venue. Usually at the Xenos Cafe off Community Park Dr. Xenos provides the coffee, some games, the band, and the venue. Sometimes a small cover charge. People can bring snacks and BYOB. Check out Quarterly Outreach Events Newsletter for latest schedule.

Family Outreach

Backyard Carnival - This is a great event for younger children.  People in the home group came up with the different game booths.  We also offered Carnival food like hot dogs, snow cones, & popcorn.  For more information, contact Carrie Apthorpe at 793-9276.

Climbing Gyms - Vertical Adventures (614) 888-8393

Columbus Community Art Design - CCAD's Saturday Morning Art Classes program provides quality visual art and design education to Central Ohio children in grades one through 12.  Call (614) 222-3248 for more information. 

Cookie Decorating - This is good for holidays especially, but any neighbor appreciates getting a fresh tin of home-made cookies anytime to chat over.

Columbus Zoo classes - Classes you can take with your child or they can take independently.  For more information, call (614) 645-3488.

Cookouts - Make it a theme-cookout (wild-game; greek), or just go with the joy of every Midwesterner: ‘the potluck’.

Fourth of July - It’s a holiday that thrives on neighborhood activities and good will.  Find out what’s going on in your neighborhood.  Do your own party and invite people.  Do you have people who live near where fireworks displays are being held?  Those are often the best places to do parties and invite a ton of people close by.

High School or Middle School Events - Any time, sporting events, proms, dances, theatre productions, concerts happen, it can be a good time to invite parents of your highschoolers or middleschoolers over for cocktails or a bite to connect.  Lots of times parents are curious what your kids are into, particularly if it’s about a church group your kids actually are enthusiastic about.

Kids Movie - Get a group of kids and moms together to go see a movie.  Crosswoods AMC offers special summer kids movie with popcorn.

Neighborhood Block Parties - Neighbors generally love these and will help if someone else (you) takes the initiative to make them happen.   Live bands, square dance, contests (pie eating, etc.) are all good but beware of making it so elaborate that people don’t have the chance to just hangout and get to know each other.

Pickup sports with dads and neighbor kids - You only need to have at least 3-on-3 for it to be fun.  Have some cold beer ready for the dads afterwards.  This can be a good spontaneous thing to do.  Lots of dads are willing to take a break from what they’re doing in order to throw the football around.

Pool outings or Alum Creek Beach with another mom and her kids - Great setting for personal conversations with a mom at the pool or beach.

Potluck Cookout - Gather 3-5 families together and meet at a local park for a cookout.  Simple, but overlooked.

Season-end sports team parties - Reserve Xenos’ Building X and host your kid’s team’s end-of-season party.  It gives people a good feel for the church being on site, and they’ll probably be curious with some questions.  Building X is a great venue for parents and kids to “play” together –which parents really enjoy being able to do this.

Slate Run Farm - This is a good family event to take your playgroup.

Story time - Check out your local library to get a schedule of time for appropriate age group.   Barnes & Noble and Borders also do story time.  Or start your own with the neighborhood families.  Maybe do it at same house you do home church at.

Zoo Lights - This occurs around Thanksgiving and goes throughout the end of the year at the Columbus Zoo.

Holiday Events

Christmas - Due to the popularity of the Christmas holiday, many options are available during the Christmas season:

  • Caroling: We have found that it is more successful to plan this on a weeknight, because more guests will come and more families are home to sing to than on weekends
  • Cookie Exchange
  • Gambling with Santa: This party benefits the humanitarian aid. Contact Patty Harvey for a well-oiled approach 740-548-0779. With an entrance fee of $10 many games can be made available and lots of food and beverages should be provided.
  • Ginger Bread House Making: Make a variety of festival ginger bread houses with seasonal candy.
  • Homeless for the Holidays: Hold a mock "Christies Auction" and auction garage sale/white elephant material and send the money to Habitat for Humanity.
  • Kinder Key Carolers: Each group notifies neighbors in its prospective audience of the caroling date.  Those who wish to donate are instructed to turn on porch lights for the singers.  The money goes to Children’s Hospital who provides the forms and materials needed.
  • Open House: Send out invitation to neighbors and friends offering them to stop by for some Christmas cheer which includes snacks and drinks.
  • Wines and White Elephant: Each person attending brings an appetizer and a "white elephant" gift. Couples A-M bring a white wine, couples N-Z bring red. Start with an "amateur" wine tasting: how to look, smell & taste. Then vote on favorite wines with a prize for who brought the best. After, settle in for the "white elephant" gift exchange. Contact Kim & Jeff Tyndall at 882-4582 for more details.

Easter - Similar to Christmas approach, but use the resurrection of Christ apologetic.  Lots of churched non-Christians feel some sort of remote obligation to go to church around Christmas and Easter.   That’s unfortunate on the one hand, but on the other hand maybe they’ll be more inclined to come to your Home Church, or a Xenos CT.

Halloween

  • Option #1 - Costume Party with games, food, and prizes. Games with kids first, then playtime while adult games go on. Kids activities ideas – Pin the Grin on the Pumpkin, Spin the Dagger, Costume party, cookie decorating, paper plate decorating, Guess how much candy is in the Jar? Adult Activities – Pictionary, Candy Jar Guess, What Famous Person Am I?, Costume Contest
  • Option #2 - Party with dancing, costume contest, and a few games.  Costume contest – 6 categories (best overall, best duo, most creative, best classic, funniest, scariest).  Games – Count the M&M’s in the Halloween Jar.  Bring a carved pumpkin for a contest.  Three home churches put it on together.
  • Option #3 - Use the Study Center and the woods.  Got AV equipment and showed movie in the woods.  Got stuff from Blair witch site and put on flier.  Then came in and had music and food, dancing.  Halloween candy, chips and dip.  Workers brought the food.

Independence Day - Do a special Home Church teaching on the subject of “True Freedom” the week before your holiday party.

New Year’s Eve Party - According to the Dispatch, the trend is toward people going to home parties instead of expensive hotels and such (partly because people tend to go out on the town a lot more anyway during the year, so NewYear’s Eve isn’t the super special night it was in our parents’ day.)   However, most people are still looking for a good party on this night.  Either go to theirs or host one yourself.  This night is a wonderful natural window for conversation in that people seem especially open to discussing how the last year went for them personally (joys and regrets), and looking at their goals/hopes for the next year.  Such areas are natural springboards for spiritual conversations.

Saint Patrick’s Day - Irish parties are one of the most fun kind to have, because it’s such a rich and intriguing culture.  Xenos’s own Donal O’Mathuna (County Monaghan) wrote an article in 2002 for the Dispatch on Saint Patrick, and wrote a more extensive paper on this ancient but authentic Christian.  Print up some copies of this article and pass them out; discuss them over a pint of Guinness.

Thanksgiving - John Cleary does a night-before-Thanksgiving party. People come with beer, and 1 thing they're thankful for. Provide a 15-minute time for anyone to share just one thing they’re thankful for. This is a positively refreshing thing that can be done without being corny, and non-Christians catch an aroma of the attractive nature of a personal relationship with Christ and contentment had by the Christians. Opens up the potential for lots of personal, informal conversation for later in evening. Don’t let this section of the evening go on for too long; it’s not a platform for verbosity.

Home Group Series

Common Objections to Christianity - There are many common objections to Christianity. Select from the following to create your own series.

  • How can there only be one way to God?
  • Does evolution discredit the Bible?
  • How can a loving God allow so much suffering?
  • How is the Bible different from other scriptures?
  • How can anyone be certain of the Bible’s meaning?
  • Can you interpret the Bible any way you want?
  • What do Christians believe about the afterlife?
  • Does it matter if the Bible is historically accurate?
  • Jesus’ death as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Consumerism - This discussion is more concerned with a pervasive worldview that has invaded American society in the last 100 years. This Focus on consumerism will be on the ideology/philosophies that have contributed to this lifestyle.

Happiness - It has been over 200 years since Thomas Jefferson declared the pursuit of happiness to be one of our self evident and unalienable rights.  Join us while we compare and contrast the avenues by which we seek to fulfill this aspiration.

Jesus

  • Jesus Unplugged - Who did Jesus think he was? What evidence supports his claims?
  • Jesus and History - What did Jesus’ contemporaries say about him and his movement? How much do we really know about Jesus from first century sources? Are the gospels too old & biased to be reliable reports of Jesus?
  • Jesus and World Religions - What do the great faiths of the world say about Jesus? Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha: what’s the difference? Thinking about faith

Reality TV - Come join us for a glimpse into reality. Reality TV is everywhere. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing it. Do you find yourself wondering is this what Reality is really like? Are you drawn to Reality TV or annoyed by it. Come to a discussion series based on Reality shows but based in Reality

Simplify - Have a thought-provoking discussion on how to rescue the essential from the clutches of the irrelevant. Take a look at what social scientists, popular authors, and the Bible have to say about  managing our hectic schedules, reducing clutter and living with more meaning, depth, and purpose.

Technology - Information technology has a profound impact on our culture today. Come and discuss its effect on: 1) How We Think, 2) How We Relate to Each Other, 3) How We View Ourselves.

Men's Outreach

Short Term Events

Bowling League - Check out bowling areas to find the latest schedule on leagues.

Cornhole Tournament - Join an 8 week league at Flannagan’s Bar or other area bars.

Columbus State Classes - Westerville, Gahanna, Dublin, etc.  Xenos folks could meet people in their neighborhoods in the suburbs through these classes.

Cultural Arts Center - Check out their website or call 614-645-7047 for class registration.  Location:  139 West Main Street.

Dart Tournament - Set it up in your own rec-room, or join a local pub’s dart league.  Byrnes Pub in Grandview has one.  So does India-Oak Tavern.

Horticulture Class - Franklin Park Conservatory offers 8 week classes.

Monday Night Football at BW3’s - Great venue for hanging with co-workers.  Plenty of stimulation, but not so much that you can’t converse personally.

Poker Night - This is a good event you could do at your home church.

Sporting Events - Buckeyes Basketball and Blue Jackets hockey in the wintertime, to the obvious Buckeyes-Browns-Bengals-(ok, Steelers too) football games.   Invite people over or go to the local watering hole.

One Time Events

Beer Exchange - Instead of the cookie exchange, get some dudes together for a beer exchange.  Palmers on Oakland Park and Indianola has great selection of good beer you’ve probably never even heard of.  The Belgian monks always have some nifty surprises.  Click back to see invitation.

Beer-Makers Exchange - Let the beer-makers in your midst unleash their latest creations.

Beer Tasting with prizes for best/worst label - Call Phil at the xcf office for names of guys who will, for a small fee, do an entire evening presentation with humor and fascinating facts about beer.  This is attractive to a huge cross-section of society’s men.

Barbarian BBQ (or Wild Game Burn-off) - Guys sign up to bring a wild meat.  Or get the hunter in your midst to bring, and guys chip in.

Breakfast Hangout - Meet some co-workers before work for breakfast on a regular basis to talk about their life.

Dad- kid camping - Here’s a great way to get plenty of time to talk around the campfire about what really matters.

Golf outing - This is a preferred venue for many men in our culture to socialize.

Home Improvement Projects - Get together with other men and help each other on home projects.

Pool Night - Good starter for mixing with people you don’t know very well.

Skeet Shooting

“Think and Drink” - Invite friends to come over to have open forum type discussions on topics that matter, and thematically drink beer. “Think” --  The discussion rules are the same as for C&C… all views welcome on topics ranging from philosophical, scientific, historical, religious, and possibly current events (shy away from political because it can be a total waste of time; also highly questionable whether to get into abortion debate since it’s so politically charged and fighting often occurs with it.)

Neighborhood and Group Ideas

Camping - Get a group of neighbors together and go to a local park like Alum Creek or Delaware State Park to do a weekend camping trip.

Do-it-Yourself Drive-In - Films shown outside of the home requires licenses, which are easy to obtain.  Check out swank.com or picusa.com.  You can throw a sheet against the wall, use a projector have a full screen picture.

Groundhog Day Party - Show the Groundhog Day Movie

Great Tubing Adventure - Every summer we have our “great tubing adventure” in the mohican river. This is very popular and an adult only event. Most people camp, but some just come up for the day. We tube down the river with coolers full of beverages and sandwiches and eat as we float! The campsite we go to loves us and blocks off the same sites every year! Camp fires at night prove great discussion opportunities. New folks pick up on the body life aspect and find it attractive.  Contact Patty Harvey for details: 740-548-0779

Karoake Night at a restaurant/bar

Movie Premiere - You can reserve the upper level of O'Shaughnessey's Pub for dinner and drinks. Then everyone can watch a movie at the Arena Grand. The concierge at the theatre sold us reserve seats and gave us posters to pass out. They also gave us a deal on popcorn and drinks. The Arena Grand is accustomed to groups attending. It does cost a little more to reserve seats, but it made it a big night out to go downtown and have dinner too.  (Marcus Theatre will sell group discount tickets) Not all theatres will sell discounted tickets opening night, especially for a block buster hit.

Neighborhood Happy Hour - Invite your neighbors over and have them bring appetizers and drinks and hang out.  Different neighbors could take turn hosting.  See sample invitation.

Penny Garage Sale - See description and handout at the end of the document.

Philanthropy Party - Rally neighbors/friends to do a walk-a-thon together, have a food pantry drive / bingo party night (game entry fee is canned goods).  

Progressive Euchere Tournament

Putt Putt Scramble

“Wine Walk” - There are 7-9 stops; each has different music, décor and hors d’oeuvres.  Each couple who opens their home to a stop provides wine.  It’s great for everyone and allows those new to the neighborhood to get to know one another.

Party Ideas

Charity Party - “The way this party will work is that we (the hosts) pick a charity in which to donate money.  We will also supply all food and drinks.  Guests are asked to bring a gift at a certain value and there will be a silent auction at the party.  All money raised by the auction is what is donated.  It’s helpful to have a very funny "auctioneer" lined up for the event.”

Chili Cook-Off - You’d be amazed at how folks will come out and enjoy the competition of a chili cook-off.   Have a good voting system and some prize like a music CD, Barnes & Noble gift certificate, or tickets to movies or sports events.

Coffee House - Casual after dinner gathering with various coffee/teas and desserts provided.    This is a great way to get to know neighbors.  Suggest that invitees bring a dessert to share (we found most want to participate rather than be served.)

Euchre Tournament - One of the funnest, most common card games in the midwest, but not so complicated that you can’t carry on conversations at the same time. Couples love coming out to these, and it’s good if you can provide a prize, or cash prize for the 2 winners.  Why not have this party at your Home Church house?

Movie Marathon - 12 Hour marathon on genre films.  Include trivia of movies or genre with prizes related to the movie, genre, or guests.  Have guests provide snacks to share, but host should provide popcorn (for that popcorn smell atmosphere).

Murder Mystery - An evening of food and fun with a murderer as a guest. Each guest is given a role and a brief scenario in their invitation to the party with instructions to come in character. At the party, someone gets "murdered" and someone in the room is to blame. In a role-playing manner, the guests turn into detectives as they try to discover who among them is the killer. Often a sit-down mean is a part of this event, but it also works great with just coffee and desserts. A murder mystery generally has 8 characters/guests.

My favorite Vinyl! - Bring your favorite album.  Must be vinyl and tell the story behind why it's your favorite.  Have a good turntable on-had to play them.

Oscar Night - A black-tie affair to gather friends to watch the Oscars. Ballots given out to guess who will win and a prize for the winner. Provide fancy appetizers and champagne/wine. You could also have trivia during the commercials.

Party with a Purpose - Working with CRIS refugee organization and getting together a kit for a family.  We came up with the idea to include our friends and make it a party. It was great to see such an outpouring of support.  The evening of the party we were able to assemble both kits. Colleen Rosshirt 840-9634 or colleen@cris-ohio.com our contact at CRIS also came and presented information for our guests about refugees in Columbus and she showed a short video.  All of the women were engaged.

Progressive Dinner - People travel from house to house for each part of the dinner. Invite people out to a Progressive dinner divided into the following categories: Drinks, appetizers, main course, and dessert. Have houses close by so you don’t have to travel far.

Retro 50's Cocktail Party - Complete with cheesy but fun 50's games, e.g., charades, etc.

Youth Mission Thank You Party – My son had many contributors (including neighbors and coworkers of his father's) and people praying for them. When he returned he wanted to thank everyone involved in person. So we had a "Taste of Cambodia" party. There was Cambodian cuisine and decorations.  Contact Reba Brookes at 538-1955 for additional questions.

Wine Tasting Party - Each couple or single brought a bottle of wine to share.  We had different types of wine placed in different areas of the house and back porch, with an appropriate appetizer or dessert with it.  We did not do an official wine tasting, but provided enough glasses at each “site” so that people could taste the wines and see which ones they liked.  Workers provided the appetizers, and a bottle of wine.  Approximate cost $10-$20 a couple.  To schedule, contact Debi Abbott dvabbott429@insight.rr.com

Women's Outreach

Book Clubs - Barnes and Noble, Borders, Library offers book clubs to join on a quarterly basis.   Talk about getting to share world views…this is an excellent venue for that!  See Book Reviews in this index for further ideas.

Bunko Night - We hear of neighborhoods full of crazed women who are nuts about this game and play regularly.  This game anyone can quickly learn and it’s a lot of fun, need groups of 4 people to play.  Ask around in your neighborhood or start one yourself.

Chef Class - A chef comes to a house to demonstrate how to prepare food.  Have it at your Home Church house or a home group member’s house that is popular in their neighborhood.

Clay Café - Attend one of Columbus’ Clay Cafés around town and do some painting.  The Grandview location allows you to bring in your own food and drinks.

Craft Night - These can include: candle making, perfume making, pot-painting, beach ball making, glass-making, quilting and jewelry.

Cooking Club - Take turns each month cooking at each others house.  Someone choose a theme – American, ethnic foods, southern BBQ, breakfast, Italian, soups and breads, etc.  Another possibility is to prepare the dish in advance and just eat together. You could all cook together if you have time.  Have people bring copies of their recipe to share.  The hostess is responsible for the main dish and either sends out a list, via email, of "sides/desserts" that people sign up for in advance, or just bring your favorites.  Decide at the end of each night the theme for the next month and who will be the hostess.

Dinner Club - Plan a monthly night out at a local restaurant.  The Melting Pot restaurant has great atmosphere and is conducive to good talks.  Gentiles in Westerville also good hangout spot.

Garden Party - “We decorated the back yard, set up tables with candles & flowers, and had a bunch of food and hand-painted wine glasses for favors. Then I led a discussion on "Friendships of Women". Much of my material came from the book of the same name by Dee Brestin.”  Contact Tammy Boone at 263-4030 for more details.

Happy Hour - Ladies at your workplace are often open to an occasional drink after work to blow off steam and talk about more personal things.

Jewelry Making Party - Laura Neal Designs (378-1349) will provide everything you need to make a beautiful, unique necklace, earrings, chokers, anklets, bracelets, etc.  Prices start at $20 a person to make a necklace, bracelet, or anklet & 2 pair of earrings.

Metro Park Woods Walk-About - Great place to walk around and hang out.  You’re surrounded by God’s creation (Romans 1) and it fosters more personal conversations.

Mother’s Shopping Trip - Take a road trip to go shopping at an outlet mall (Jefferson, Lodi) or IKEA and then have lunch.  Dads watch the kids.

Naked Lady Party - Have the ladies bring clothes and accessories that they don't want and sort them into departments around the house. Have drinks and appetizers and let everyone go around trying on each other's clothes, purses, jewelry, etc. Everyone take what they want and give the rest to charity.

Scrapbooking - This is popular for the sports moms to present to their kids at their sports banquet.  Also popular with new moms, singles, newly married.  Contact Gwen Lee at 895-5364, who is a consultant and can host a scrapbooking party.

Seasonal Discussion Group - Fall Women's Discussion Group - (designed from one of Mark Ashton's seeker's groups)  "If you could ask God one thing what would it be? The first meeting each person put a question in a basket. At the end of each meeting one question is drawn to determine the topic for next week's discussion. The meeting is discussion based with the guests doing most of the talking, not a teaching.  But Biblical truth is given as one of the aspects of the discussion.  Included in the meeting is a party theme: Halloween - craft, shadow candle Pumpkin Patch - pumpkin food and pumpkin decorations on the table Apple Orchard - small bushels of apples on the table, apple desserts and an apple contest with prizes. "How well do you know your apples?" Thanksgiving Recipe Exchange - bring your favorite thanksgiving recipe on cards and a sample for everyone to taste. (This turned into a dinner)  Contact Reba Brookes at 538-1955 for additional questions.

Spa Night - “The women in our group have a “spa night”.  We bring nail polish, face masks and make-up.  It’s a good time to be girly and talk.”

Miscellaneous Ideas

Community Service - There is an abundance of opportunities to serve, both through Xenos ministries and organizations in the community. Through sacrifice of our time and resources, we can get the occasion to share and adorn the gospel. 

Conversation and Cuisine - Conversation and Cuisine provides exquisite food and enjoyable, stimulating discussion which leads to substantive conversation and relationships.

Game Time - Game Time is a ministry that uses sports as an opportunity to make new or deepen existing friendships. Home Groups enjoy using these leagues by signing up a team and inviting their friends to join in. There is plenty of time before and after games to get to know one another.

Parenting Meeting - Xenos' monthly Parenting Meeting offers practical, Bible-based teachings on different parenting topics. While the teachers come from a Biblical perspective, all viewpoints are welcome.

Leading an evangelistic prayer meeting