5 Ways to Live Missionally on a Budget
For many years of our married life, my husband and I were, at best, living paycheck to paycheck. I found it very easy just to pull into a shell and live life more or less to ourselves throughout the week. We worked with the children's church on Sundays, and we worked with AWANAs or Truth Trackers on Wednesday nights. Other than that, we lived mostly in our four walls without much outreach. Yes! I know this is an awful admission, and God was working on me about it.
Now we have moved into a new (to us!) house. And to make outreach easier - our neighborhood has flat streets, our kids are older, and kids live directly across the street from our house. These details have been a blessing to us. In addition, God was working on my husband and I to begin ministering in our neighborhood, so we began life in our new house with a mission in mind. We still have a pretty tight budget, but we are figuring out some ways to get to know others and be hospitable. We are stepping out of our comfort zones, and we are thankful for the changes that are being made.
Here are some ideas that we have discussed. Some have been used already, and others we have plans to use in the future.
Have "dutch" parties.
This summer we did this, and it was awesome! We planned a date for a cookout with our neighbors across the street. Each of us invited our own friends/family.
We provided the grill, and this was our plan -
Everyone was asked to bring meat to grill for themselves along with a side dish or dessert. (Splitting the necessities up in this way meant nobody had much extra cost - unless they wanted to bring extra.)
We set up a table on our porch for the food. The neighbor across the street manned the grill. We did not plan specific games, but we had some outdoor games available for the kids to play. Since our yard/driveway is flat, we set up the chairs at our house.
Some people came early and left, and some came later. We had family members, neighbors, and a few college kids join in. All in all, we had 25 or more that night. It was great to make several new friends in our subdivision.
Help a neighbor out.
The night of our dutch party, my husband talked with a widow neighbor. When my son and I walked her home, she told me my husband was planning to cut her grass the next day. (She was so thankful!)
My husband is really good at edging, etc... so the next time I talked with this sweet neighbor, she was praising him for his hard work and skill. She wanted to pay us back somehow, and my 13 year old said she could pay us back by coming over for dinner one night. How awesome is that?!
Share the bounty.
Next door to us is a widower with health problems. Because of his health, he is not comfortable with coming over for dinner and staying away from his home for very long.
When my daughter makes cookies or banana bread, we try to take some of what has been fixed over to this neighbor also. Oddly enough, though we have heard others complain about this neighbor, God has blessed us with a favorable friendship. We are thankful for this result!
Have the college kids over.
Yes; I realize this doesn't sound like much of a low cost option, but hear me out! 🙂
I would choose chili. When my family has chili, we usually have sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips with it. So instead of adding all the extras, I would use that money to make more chili. Each college kid who was invited would be asked to bring sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, or a dessert if they were able. We usually serve water, but if a lot of kids were coming some could bring a 2 liter or two of soda. After all, you can only use so much sour cream and cheese, right?
We borrow folding tables and chairs from our church for the sit down meal time, but they also can be used to play board games. You could also schedule this around a football game if you wanted.
Have a cookie swap (or salad recipe sharing time!)
Invite as many friends as you desire. Each guest brings a batch of cookies to share along with the recipe. (Or you can share the recipes online later.) Plan on either just good old socializing or find a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie to watch!
Serve hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and water. If your personal budget is really tight, ask each person to bring some sort of beverage also. After all, you are providing the home for meeting. No one will find this offensive.
Often the times when our finances were the tightest were also the times when we needed to get out with friends. These options make it possible to do so without spending a lot of money. Building new relationships and strengthening old relationships is important. I hope you will give one or two of these a try. I would love for you to share your idea with me also!