Raise your hand if you hate being generous. Raise your hand if you hate being on the receiving end of generosity. Anyone? Generosity is a two way street paved in chocolate. If they’re being honest, pretty much everybody feels warm and fuzzy on the inside when they are the object of generosity, or when they get to bless someone else.
Unexpected generosity is especially powerful. It can change a person’s day….sometimes, their life.
I saw an idea a couple years ago at Church of the Highlands, my wife’s parent’s church in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s based on the idea that there is power in “randomly” doing something kind for someone and pointing to God as the source of that kindness. The church printed up thousands of cards (pictured below), handed them out to their congregation, and told people to pair the card with an act of kindness. They’ve been doing this for years now. People leave big tips, buy a meal, give food, do acts of service…and then they leave the card.
Here are some of the ways I’ve seen these cards used by people at Church of the Highlands. Take a few minutes to read the comments.
We want to do this at Relevant. We want to equip YOU, our church, with cards and ideas on how to unexpectedly bless others. We figured Christmas is a great time to start, since (for some) it’s the loneliest time of the year. So we printed up 2,500 cards (pictured below). Grab a handful starting on Sunday, Dec. 6 and start sharing the love of Jesus through acts of kindness!
You’ll see on the back, we’ve got an invitation to our Christmas Eve service. Understand that the goal is not to “get them to church”. It’s to do something unexpected and kind for someone else, catch him/her off guard, and point them to God as the source. But what’s cool about the invitation is that it “tethers them to God’s house” as Church of the Highlands puts it. It gives them a place to go if and when God works in their heart.
With that said, you can still use these cards with people you know. Co-workers, friends, neighbors. If you’d just like to directly invite them to Christmas Eve, hand them a card with the Christmas Eve info side up and a little candy bar taped to the other side.
Below are some ideas to get you going. We’ll continue posting new ideas on SomethingUnexpected.org.
- Leave an extra big tip and a card for your server at a restaurant.
- Put an envelope with money and a card on the windshield of a beat-up car.
- Give a certificate good for free babysitting and a card.
- Attach a candy bar or a Scooter’s gift card to the card and leave it on a co-worker’s desk.
- Shovel snow off someone’s driveway early in the morning and leave a note and a card on their front door.
- Pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive-thru and have the cashier hand a card to them when they pull forward.
- Bake some Christmas goodies for someone and attach a card.
- Do an act of service for someone, and leave the card.
- Leave some flowers with a card.
- Pay for someone’s dinner at a restaurant and have the waitress give them a card instead of their bill.
- Come up with something original and thoughtful!
Be intentional! Be prepared! Keep the cards and whatever other supplies you need in your car. When you see a need, meet it, and point to God with the card. Imagine if hundreds of us were using these cards each day. How might that change people’s perceptions of our Heavenly Father?!
Lastly, we would love for you to share what you’re doing with us. You can post what you’re doing online and tag it with #SomethingUnexpectedCards or send us a photo and a description at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll post it on our social media pages.
You ready? Get excited. Grab some cards on Sunday. Go big! Do something really unexpected! And pray that God works in people’s hearts.