Every once in a while, culture gives us an easy opportunity to meet people and build relationships. For example, Super Bowl parties are one of the easiest ways to invite friends and neighbors to our homes in the hopes of building friendships. This being true, I believe that Halloween might be one of the most strategic holidays of the year to meet your neighbors in the hopes of demonstrating the love of Christ to them.
In 2018, Halloween shoppers spent nearly 2.5 Billion dollars on candy, costumes, and decorations. This makes Halloween the second most lucrative holiday of the American calendar passing Thanksgiving and July 4th! While culture celebrates Halloween, many Christians and churches choose to abstain from celebrating Halloween and opt for hosting a fall festival or something of the like. Many churches host Fall Festivals to offer a different option for families who, understandably, might be a little wary of some of the dark messaging that can accompany Halloween. As a kid, I loved going to our church’s Fall Festivals, but if current research is accurate, as years pass, our neighbors are less likely to attend events held by a church. So, if our neighbors are less and less likely to accept an invite to a church event, we need to respond by being faithful missionaries and adjusting our strategy. We can reclaim Halloween as a strategic time to build relationships in the hopes of demonstrating the love of Christ to our friends and neighbors.
We can reclaim Halloween as a strategic time to build relationships in the hopes of demonstrating the love of Christ to our friends and neighbors.
Unless you like to throw block parties weekly, Halloween is the only time of the year that dozens of people will willingly come to your home. You don’t need to feel pressured to share the gospel with every individual that visits your house on Halloween, but it is important to build friendships in the community where you live. When your neighbors have spiritual questions, they now know someone in their community who can help them tackle their questions. When your neighbors decide they’re ready to start going to church again or maybe for the first time, they now know someone who can recommend a gospel-centered church. When your neighbors’ kids are sick or in trouble, they now have a friend they can talk to about the difficulties of parenting. All of these relationships can lead to spiritual conversations and you sharing the gospel with your neighbors.
So, how do we reclaim Halloween this year?
Here are a few suggestions:
Meet people in your driveway, not your doorway. One of the best ways to make your neighbors feel welcome is to set up in your driveway. Approach it almost like you would a tailgate for a Panthers’ football game. Set up some tables and chairs, have some hot chocolate for parents and corn hole boards or games for kids. One of our staff members took advantage of her neighborhood’s Facebook group to invite everyone to stop by their house for a hot dog. Hot dogs are cheap, and people love free food. Make it feel like you planned for people to come, and once they do, meet them, become friends, and if an opportunity presents itself, share the gospel.
Always have a next step. Okay, so you’ve set up and have built relationships with a few people. You will want to have a next step for them. Maybe you plan to have a cookout for the following week or even set up a playdate with a few other moms in the neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what it is, merely having something else to invite people to will help you continue to build these new friendships.
Don’t be weird. Don’t dress up as Jesus and the disciples. Don’t play your favorite hymns on your Bluetooth speaker. Don’t put a gospel tract in every kid’s trick or treat bag. People aren’t dumb. If you treat them as projects, they will notice it and will be less likely to trust you in the future. Just make friends with people! If you get an opportunity to share the gospel that night, great! Take it. If not, that’s okay. Just start building relationships!
Halloween is an incredible opportunity to reach our city. Right now, Mercy Church has 414 members covering 286 different residencies in our city. If 12 families visit each one of our members’ homes to trick or treat, this means that 3,432 families will visit our homes on October 31st. God is sending us 3,432 families to meet and to love. God cares about every single one of these families. Mercy Church, let’s reclaim this Halloween by loving our neighbors well and by building relationships that will allow us to demonstrate the love of Christ in our communities.