Don't you love freebies? Going to stores where they routinely hand out coffee samples or ice cream tastes? Trade shows are (or at least used to be) great places to visit to stock up on pencils, pens, sticky notes, paper pads, mouse pads, and doo-dads. They were just there for the asking.
I'm surprised at how few pastors take advantage of ministry freebies. These are the times when just showing up with a smile pays off in dividends. Like when? Being invited to a parishoner's birthday party or anniversary celebration. I know, it's on your day off and in the afternoon. That's the cost that prevents too many pastors from enjoying the freebie. It's a graduation party or a wedding reception. It's a picnic for church volunteers or gathering at someone's house. A ministry freebie is almost always out of the office and the pastor is not in charge. There too is the problem. We love to show up when we are on the program and have a role and function to perform. But then it's not a freebie. We are working and on the clock. We are supposed to do this and be professional. But when we show up unexpected and not in charge, members and friends realize we actually like them...even love them.
The very best freebie is the Sunday morning after-church coffee time. Too many staff persons head right to their offices and make a bee-line for home. Mingling with those not in a ministry area is difficult, awkward, and seen as a waste of time. Wrong...it's a freebie!