Prep time

One of the things I love about Ashes to Go is how very simple it can be: a few people, outside the church walls, with a container of ashes and an openness to God’s people on the streets or anywhere in the routine of life. But of course there’s still some prep, and the beginning of Lent is also a very busy time for most church folks.
So at two weeks out, you probably want to recruit your team – clergy and lay people can share the ministry – and know your site.
If you’ll be visiting a business like a coffee shop, grocery store, or mall, it’s helpful to check in with the management ahead of time to be sure they’re comfortable with your presence. Places that host Christmas bell ringers and girl scout cookie sales probably have good foot traffic and some experience with having non-profit ministries at their doors. Colleges and universities also have a lot of foot traffic, and a lot of people who have never imagined the church could be adventurous and interesting. Many have chaplaincies in place that will celebrate Ash Wednesday, but not all.
If you’re headed to a downtown business district, park, or transit stop, usually all you have to do is plan to show up on Ash Wednesday, and be flexible.
If you’re planning to set up on your own property, plan your signage and space use now. At it’s best, Ashes to Go is about the unexpected encounter and the church in the midst of daily life, not merely a drive-by convenience. How can you invite drivers and passers by into the sense of God’s presence in their commute?
Once it’s all planned, share your site here. We keep the list on the site for mutual support and inspiration, and to help media covering the story and people interested in this holy adventure see the scope and the specifics of your ministry!
And of course, now is the time to be praying for your team, your community, and all those who will encounter God’s grace on Ash Wednesday!