More Kingdom Mischief as a Family
Here are some more ideas your family could use to reach out and bless people when you are out and about... These ones really open up opportunities to chat and go deeper with people, if they are willing.
Why not try them together with another family or two?
Before you go out, grab a pen and some paper and take a few moments together to ask God for "clues". These are words of knowledge, pictures and impressions which God might give, to lead you to specific people ("treasure") he wants to encourage or bless.
Examples of the kinds of "clues" people receive in prayer might be "Red scarf", "black and white dog", "sore right arm", "clock tower" etc - things to look out for or know which might lead you to individuals and help open up conversation. Not all of your clues will be about the same person.
What do we say?
If you think you've found a person who fits one or more of your clues, politely introduce yourself/selves, eg "Hi, my name's ..., today we are doing a treasure hunt and we think you might be our treasure".
Explain what you are doing, eg "we think God is wanting to show people here in town how much he loves them by making them treasure in our treasure hunt - we've prayed for clues and now we are looking out for them".
Show them the list you have written. Point out the clue/s that led you to them, and ask if any other clues apply.
At this point they may start telling you their life story... or they might politely try to edge away - go with the conversation and be sensitive!
If there are any issues they share with you, (for example health, circumstances, relationships), ask if they would like you to pray for them. If they would, it helps to pray with your eyes open. It means you can see what is going on with the person and also looks less weird for the sake of the treasure being prayed for, who may be unused to Christian conventions, or feel a bit awkward.
Some clues could seem very random - but keep your spiritual eyes and ears open... you never know! One member of our family got a picture of a man, perhaps a priest, in a brown habit... not a sight you might expect to see in most British towns. However, towards the end of our time treasure hunting in Birmingham, we saw a man in a brown habit walking through the Cathedral grounds. Imagine our excitement! We went to talk with him and it turned out we had stopped him in a significant place, at a significant time in his life and he was so encouraged to know God saw him and had sent him messengers to affirm him in that moment.
Choose a Blessing
This deceptively simple way of engaging with people has the potential to go deep very quickly - and really touch hearts.
Make sure you have some wrapped chocolates, sweets or lollipops. Create labels for them with clearly readable words like "Peace", "Healing", "Courage", "New Start" etc. Your family could make and decorate them yourselves, or a printable document of labels and further word ideas can be downloaded here.
Find a way to clearly display your labeled gifts. An inviting looking basket or cloth-covered tray might work well.
Then, all you need to do is offer people you meet a free gift! You might like to say something like "Choose wisely - take what you need in your life right now".
We are often amazed at how thoughtful many people can become as they consider the words on the labels, and how meaningful the interaction can be about their choice. Others might not want to stop and say "no thank you", which is fine. We are fishing for those who bite :)
Be bold and ask if you can bless the recipient with the word they chose, eg "Can we just bless you with hope right now?" Say a really simple prayer, eyes open, inviting God's blessing into the recipient's life, particularly in the area they might have mentioned, for example "Thank you God that you love... (person's name). We bless her with hope that comes from you. We invite you to be at work in this situation that is causing her frustration. May she really know that she can put her hope and trust in you".
We have seen a number of people wiping away tears while they are receiving this kind of prayer. Don't underestimate God's power to touch hearts through something simple like this.
your family are a bit arty, this might be a fun way for you to reach people. You may want to prepare this before you go out, or you could even create your art in a cafe or in the park... that could be a conversation starter in itself!
Take some time to ask God to speak to each of you through pictures. Ask him for not only images, but also for scriptures, encouragements or messages of hope to go with them.
Create your pictures, using whatever materials you like. Postcard or A5-sized paper or card can be easier to use, for reasons explained below.
When your art is created, you can choose to either back several images onto pieces of board, if you want to use the display approach, or keep them loose to give to individuals.
You could create one or more boards displaying your prophetic art (pieces of thick card painted black work well). If your images are on the smaller side it is easier to display more on one board. The least complicated way to use the boards is to walk around with them to find people. If you want to display them statically on a street or shopping area, you may need to seek permission, unless you are doing it as part of a wider event. Bear in mind a static display might also look like you are trying to sell the art.
Greet people and invite them to choose which picture they are most drawn to. You could maybe chat about why they like it. Share with them the word of encouragement that goes with that picture... allow room for them to respond or reflect on it if they want to. Ask if they would like prayer,
While you are out and about, ask God who you should give a picture to. When you have spotted someone, introduce yourselves and explain that your family have been creating pictures with special meaning, which you believe God wants to encourage people with. Show your recipient the picture you feel you should give them. Share the message you believe goes with it. Allow them to respond if they want to. Give the artwork to the person. Pray for them if they are willing.
This piece of kingdom mischief needs a little preparation, but prep that involves threading beads and storytelling is fun for all ages.
You will need:
Beads (eg Hama beads or pony beads) in these colours - green, grey, red, white and yellow.
Black elastic thread
Thread the beads in the above order onto wrist-sized pieces of elastic, knotting to secure each bead. If you enjoy being crafty you could go more elaborate and find more fancy ways to knot the elastic, or even weave the beads into friendship bracelets.
Tell the story with your family as you make them (it doesn't have to be word for word, just your version!):
Green - In the beginning there was God, and he was a family: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He created all things, the stars and planets of the universe and our home, Earth. Everything he made was good. God made humans as his masterpiece, to be his dearly loved children. They lived together with God as a joyful family.
Grey - but people decided not to trust God any more - they wanted to do things their own way, which is called sin. When they said "no" to God, they separated themselves from Him. The family was broken. Sickness, sorrow and death entered the world.
Red - Sin created a huge gap between God and people, and nothing could bridge that gap. No matter how good people tried to be, it was never enough to cross that gap. But God desperately wanted his beloved children to return to him. He sent the Son to live as a human on the earth, to show people how he felt about them... and to die, to pay the price of all humans' sin. But he didn't stay in the grave! He rose from the dead after 3 days - death had no power over him.
White - Because Jesus paid the price for sin, people can be made clean and have a brand new start. They can have their broken hearts mended, be healed in their bodies and their minds and be free from the things that hold them down. They can cross that gap, because the Cross has made a bridge for God and humans to be together again. We just need to say sorry for the wrong things we have done & said, and say "yes", we want to be part of God's family.
Blue - then he sends the Holy Spirit to come and live in us, filling us with power to live this clean new life. We don't have to do it on our own!
Yellow - And that's just the beginning! God has amazing plans and purposes for his children, to bring heaven to earth. Those who return to his family can do the things Jesus did - heal the sick, bind up broken hearts, bring justice and and freedom to other people's lives... because he loves them too!
Make a bunch of these bracelets and give your family time to practice telling the story with the beads to each other.
Now, you are ready to go out and about to give away your bracelets. You could go to a park, or take them along to a fun community event or a festival. Choose people who aren't in a rush and offer them a bracelet. Let them know it tells a story - and ask if they would like you to share it. Many people love a story - you might be surprised at how many times you get to share good news!
Some questions to think about asking after you have shared the story (depending on how interested they seem!):
Have you ever heard that story before?
Which part did you like best?
Have you ever felt like you needed a new start?
Have you ever thought about yourself as a masterpiece?
Are you interested in being part of God's family?
... And finally
It's good to give the folks you meet an opportunity to follow up their experience. They need to know where they can go, or who they can talk to, if they want to ask questions, process or pursue the God who has met them on the street.