If you’ve ever been to a conference or even to a child’s birthday party, you know that not all giveaways are useful.

There’s a goody bag of plastic doodads that were presented to you without any context, and you’re not sure what to do with them (besides throw them in the trash).

But when Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA decided to do a giveaway, they made sure it had purpose.

It all began when Dr. Vic D. Pentz, former Senior Pastor of Peachtree, sent out an introductory column to the congregation titled, “Can’t Wait for Sunday.” In it, he gave a preview of how meaningful the giveaway would be: “This Sunday I’m giving you a gift. It’s a book that changed my life.”

Have a Clear Purpose

There’s much to learn from and a few actionable steps any church can put into practice based on the way Peachtree Presbyterian did this giveaway.

First, there was a clear purpose in place before anything was handed out to the congregation.

Peachtree decided to give congregants copies of Kenneth Boa’s book, Handbook to Prayer: Praying Scripture Back to God. Why? The book had a major impact on the spiritual growth and prayer life of the Senior Pastor, and he wanted the congregation to experience growth as well.

The church was also about to introduce a new series on prayer titled, “Just Lift a Finger” based on the famous image on the Sistine Chapel ceiling of Adam’s and God’s fingers inches apart. “God is so very near, just waiting to touch our lives with His grace and power,” Dr. Pentz said to the congregation. “All Adam has to do is lift his finger. Any time, day or night, you can too.”

Not only would Handbook to Prayer help the congregation learn to pray Scripture, but it would also help them apply and put into practice what they learn in the prayer series on Sundays.

Have a Clear Presentation

The Senior Pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian introduced the Handbook to Prayer giveaway to the congregation first in writing, and then at the start of the sermon series.

In the sermon, he explained the spiritual discipline of praying Scripture and the power of prayer. He then tied in the giveaway of Handbook to Prayer to equip the congregation to practice what they’re learning.

You can listen to the three sermons in the series here:

  1. Can I Pray My Way to Happiness?
  2. Do Prayers Really Change Things?
  3. Why Does God Want So Much Praise?

Peachtree handed the handbook out at the door as people came in—allowing them to use them during the worship service and take their copy home after service. They started with 3,000 copies and eventually needed to order 1,000 more.

The congregation was given clear instructions for how to pick up their free book, what the book will teach them, how it’s important for their spiritual development, how it ties into the sermon series, and a specific way to use it.

Have a Clear Call to Action

Dr. Pentz’s presentation of the book led the way for an action step that he laid out in the first sermon of the prayer series: “What if instead of just working harder, you started working smarter by spending ten minutes a day in the presentation of God, meditating on scripture and in prayer? Use the Handbook to Prayer we’ve given you to do so over the next six weeks.”

Peachtree Presbyterian called this initiative “The Peachtree Challenge.” The congregation’s challenge was to spend at least ten minutes each day in focused prayer and meditation on God’s Word over the next six weeks using the Handbook to Prayer. “Imagine!” Dr. Pentz said. “With Ken’s book as our guide, we’ll have thousands of us beginning our day in the Word and lifting up our lives, families, city, and world to God.”

Dr. Pentz encouraged the congregation to be creative with the challenge, doing their daily prayer and meditation in parking lots if they had to. A challenge like this one gives those who might be new to the spiritual discipline of prayer a simple way to start. It encourages the congregation to make prayer a habit and a priority.

When it’s time for your church’s next giveaway, remember the case of Peachtree Presbyterian. A giveaway with a clear purpose, presentation, and call to action will help your congregation understand, apply, and grow from the gift you’ve given. If you’re not ready to give a book to your entire congregation, giving a book like this to new graduates or new leaders is helpful and impactful as well.

Which spiritual disciplines are you teaching at your church that a resource giveaway could help with? What can you do to make sure your church’s next giveaway is clearly presented and purposeful? How can you provide a clear call to action that helps your church use what they’ve been given to grow spiritually?

For information on how to order Handbook to Prayer in bulk for your church, contact Heather Cottingham.

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