Trash or Treasure: A Unique Garage Sale Ministry

garage sale sign

Do you enjoy scrambling through someone else’s no-longer-wanted items to find just the treasure you have been seeking? You may not even know you need an item until you discover it among the collection of treasures. Garage sale junkies, both men and women, are utterly thrilled with their finds.

Rethink garage sales! What if your church organized a garage sale where the items were free as a way to develop relationships in your community that might lead to sharing Christ?

  1. Begin by getting your entire church family on board for the event. You will need many people to donate items to give away and volunteer before, during, and after the event.
  2. Decide on the best date, time, and location. Consider setting up tables in your church parking lot on a Saturday morning. Contact the staff person responsible for reserving church facilities. Reserve the number of tables you think is needed. Be sure to set up enough tables so items can be displayed well and shoppers can browse easily to see what’s available. Arrange a rainy-day backup location.
  3. Enlist volunteers to receive the donated items, sort them, and set them up the day of the event. Be certain all items are clean and work properly. Engage enough volunteers so someone is always available to assist shoppers and engage them in conversations that could lead to spiritual conversations. Don’t miss an opportunity to tell others about the free gift received from God and invite them to know Him. Make certain Bibles are available, along with information about your church.
  4. Check out Pinterest and other social media sites for ideas on setting up a successful garage sale. Pay close attention to suggestions about what items “sell” well.
  5. Utilize all church communications to notify members of the upcoming garage sale date, kinds of items needed, and where and when to bring them to a central location.
  6. Place a classified ad in your local newspaper publicizing what kinds of items will be available. Highlight that items will be free to everyone. Don’t forget social media. Post announcements on your church’s social media pages and encourage church members to share them.
  7. Recruit youth to construct simple signs with large letters that can be seen easily when people drive past your garage sale or a nearby street corner. Enlist them to stand in front holding the signs encouraging passersby to stop and shop.
  8. Sign up greeters to direct attendees to the registration table, explaining that’s where they will receive free tickets to “buy” items.
  9. String up balloons or colorful ribbons on garage sale day to attract attention and look inviting. Make available bottled water, lemonade, and cookies. Set up a game or crafts area to entertain children while adults shop.
  10. Decide how many tickets attendees get when they register. Each ticket will be exchanged for an item from the tables. Set up a table for checkout where people turn in their tickets for items they have selected.

Charlotte Watson lives in Georgetown, Texas. Although she is a retired minister of missions, she continues to stay involved in missions and ministry.

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