What are the crucial ingredients of a successful Offering of Letters? The venue and logistics are important, but even more important is that we make these experiences genuine offerings to God. Here are some easy steps to organize an effective Offering of Letters.
After your Offering, make sure to report your results.
Recruit Your Team. Consider who might be helpful in planning and publicizing an Offering of Letters. Your pastor or campus chaplain? A church committee or local leader? Invite them to join your team and to play helpful roles in organizing an Offering of Letters.
Choose Your Campaign. Meet with your team to review the campaign options. Will you focus on the overall campaign or one or more of the mini-campaigns? Before you decide, check www.bread.org/go/OL to see which campaigns are active. You can also contact your regional organizer for the latest information.
Develop a Plan. Review your team’s resources. Consider how to integrate the Offering of Letters with worship and educational activities. Decide when and where to hold your Offering of Letters. Secure support from leaders of your church or community. Plan ahead to get the Offering of Letters on all the right calendars.
Gather Resources. Read this handbook thoroughly for information and ideas, and watch the accompanying DVD. The sample presentation on page 20 will help you cover all the important themes of this campaign. Check in with your Bread for the World regional organizer. Visit www.bread.org/go/OL for updates and the most recent sample letter, as well as a sample PowerPoint presentation you can use to educate your church or community.
Get the Word Out. Ask your pastor or leader to lift up the Offering of Letters in a sermon or newsletter. Show the Offering of Letters DVD. Place a bulletin insert or announcement in the Sunday bulletin. Offer a “Minute for Mission” during worship. Share information about your Offering of Letters via Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or other forms of social media. Encourage others to spread the word at their small group or Bible study meetings. Display the posters found in the back pocket of this handbook on a bulletin board.
Pray for the Offering. Reflect on a passage of Scripture that includes a call to bring justice to poor and oppressed people. Ask God to show you how to interpret this call.
Write Letters. Letter-writing can be done at a special time during worship, at fellowship hour, in a class or youth group, near dining halls, on campus, or anywhere people gather. Provide paper, envelopes, pens, and the latest sample letter (found at www.bread.org/go/OL). Show the DVD so people can see families who could be helped by their letters. Invite anyone who prefers not to write to pray for hungry people affected by these policies. Encourage people to write letters in your group setting. Letting people write letters at home yields fewer letters. Also encourage letter-writers to fill out the sign-in sheet.
Offer the Letters to God for a blessing during worship or fellowship. This is what makes our campaign unique. Count and note the number of letters written to each member of Congress. Mail the letters, individually or in a bundle sorted by elected official, to their DC offices.
Give Thanks. To God, to your team, to your letter-writers, and to those who prayed.
Report Your Letters. Complete and return the feedback form “You Did It,” found in the back pocket or online, to Bread for the World’s national office. Your report ensures that Bread’s staff can follow up effectively with congressional offices. Also, encourage your group to join Bread for the World at www.bread.org.
Follow Up. Let people know about the fruits of their labor. Will you publish monthly updates on the Offering in your church bulletin, campus newsletter, or website? Have the letter-writers signed up to receive updates from Bread for the World? You can find updates at www.bread.org/go/OL.
Celebrate Victories, Large and Small. As part of your celebration, publicize your Offering. Contact your local newspaper about it, take a picture and send it to a local blogger, post it on your church or organization’s website, or put it on Facebook or Twitter.
Tell Congress to protect programs critical for hungry people, especially our children.