One of the calls of the Church at large is to connect with local communities and, through meeting practical needs of people and forming relationships with them, pointing others to Christ. Just as Jesus fed, provided for, and brought community to people, we have an opportunity to do the same in order to show people the love and grace of Christ. Planned Acts of Christian Kindness, or P.A.C.K., can be a helpful program in connecting a church to its local community through meeting people’s needs and pointing them to Christ. Lee Larsen, Ministry Coordinator for the Acts 1:8 ministry, suggests P.A.C.K. as a program to consider to be able to, as a church, use “acts of kindness as a way to share Jesus with everyone in a way that is low-key and non-threatening” through trusting in the work of the Holy Spirit.
With P.A.C.K., a church or congregation can put on an event off-campus offering up goods (food, lemonade, clothes, etc.) or services (car wash, oil changes, etc.) to the local community for free if possible. This can be done by “using the connections within your congregation to find avenues to put events on,” says Larsen, whether in finding services to provide or where an event could be hosted. Through providing these things in a planned act of kindness, members of your congregation have opportunities to then talk to members of your local community about the grace, love, and kindness of Jesus Christ. Lee Larsen will tell you that the people who come by to receive whatever is provided will often ask something like “What’s the catch?” as it’s an expectation that what is provided should cost something. This is a perfect opportunity to be able to share about the grace of God, which cannot be bought but is freely given.
It’s common in a P.A.C.K. event to also pass out Connect Cards, which inform those you’d be serving of clear Scripture verses that tell of the grace of Christ, as well as provide an invitation to your place of worship or where your community gathers so they feel like they can be a part of somewhere. These P.A.C.K. events, then, can be helpful as a form of outreach to serve the community, encourage and empower your congregation and youth in sharing the faith, and pointing those in your local context to the grace that God freely gives through Christ.
For free resources on how a P.A.C.K. event could work in your community, go to www.acts18.org , or contact Lee Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have. As Lee says, “who doesn’t love a free gift or service?” We live in the free gift of God’s grace, and so we have the opportunity to look for ways to point others to that same grace as well.