How can we practice servant evangelism and engage people in talking about the gospel? How about a free yard sale?

What is a Free Yard Sale?
A free yard sale is an easy, high grace event designed to highlight the gospel of Jesus Christ and his grace to us. Specifically, a group sets up typical yard sale items (toys, books, clothes, wall hangings, etc.) in a high traffic area and offers them for free to the public. In addition, soft drinks, music, animal balloons and other fun items can be given away.

How many people does it take?
It actually takes very few people to host the event itself. Just enough to wander among the people. The event is scalable, meaning one or two families could put it on with just a few things or a whole church could do it with lots of items. Soda, lollipops and animal balloons also lend a festive air. Live music can be fun.

How do I prepare?
Have the believers in your church or fellowship bring items to give away. Begin praying for divine appointments. Pray for good weather. You might also designate one or two couples as the hosts. That’s about it.

What would I say?
The greeter welcomes people with a warm greeting and encourages them to come in and tells them it’s all free. As the people wander among the items, other church members can offer plastic bags to put the free stuff in. As people leave, you can say, “Can we give you our church card?” At our last yard sale, we had a gospel tract with our church business card paper-clipped on the front. Then we said, “Feel free to call us if we can help in any way.” Folks were very appreciative.

At times we were asked why it was free or why we were doing this, our response was something like, “Jesus has freely given us salvation and we want to show the love of Christ to you.” If the conversation continued we might ask them about their spiritual background or interest.

Why does this work?
Proverbs 18:16 declares that A gift opens the way for the giver and Proverbs 19:6 explains Everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts. We have seen these proverbs lived out. Giving something away for nothing stands in stark contrast with the usual pursuit of money by churches. It makes quite an impression. We had one church member who stopped to help a women with broken down car. When he told her where he went to church, she immediately recognized it as the free yard sale church and declared her intention to come by.

What are the benefits of doing this?
Your church or fellowship is serving the community. Believers come together and have a great time serving others. It provides a platform for personal contact between you and the community. Believers can be emboldened to share their faith or even just identify with Christ. In addition, it provides a great platform to asking the transition questions that can move the conversations to spiritual things.

When should I hold it?
Saturday morning is yard sale time in our community.

Where should I hold it?
A high traffic area is preferable. Our church used our front lawn and made a few signs saying, “FREE.” That was enough to encourage people to stop.

While here, don’t forget to check out Evangelism for the Tongue-Tied (paper or electronic) to help you talk about Jesus, the reason we celebrate.