The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Creative outreach: From innovations to old favorites

Congregations reach out with everything from balloon rides to door knocking

When Kevin Ruffcorn launches a congregation, he takes the word "launch" seriously. Ruffcorn offered the community hot-air balloon rides to celebrate the church's opening.

"The rides helped us get better acquainted with our neighbors," says Ruffcorn, pastor of Desert Streams Lutheran Church, Surprise, Ariz. "When people see hot-air balloons, they almost always take a second glance. Most have positive thoughts."

The red, seven-story hot-air balloon — emboldened with a 40-foot cross — garnered publicity for the new congregation in two local newspapers. In addition, volunteers distributed door hangers and sent mass mailings to residents, resulting in more than 200 visitors to the first worship service last September.

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February issue


Embracing diversity