I'm excited about Sunday night. It's Halloween and I get to eat cotton candy! But I'm more excited that several years ago we made a change. We used to have the "harvest party" that targeted our church kids and not the community. The event was inward focused. It was our attempt at a safe alternative to trick or treating for our kids. We would have said it was for the community but the attendance proved the opposite.
How do we take an event in the community and use it? We decided that we would do Trunk or Treat. First of all Trunk or Treat required us to move our little "party" out of the safety of the four walls of the church building and into the parking lot where the public could see and not just see but attend. The first year attendance was rather low but was better attended than the harvest party.
Over the years Trunk or Treat has grown. This year we will see thousands come onto our church's property for the event. Hundreds will even funnel into our building for the free food and for their children to play games. Sitting in my office are 1600 gospel tracts to place in the kids' candy bags.
The harvest party catered to the church. Trunk or Treat is for the whole community. The approach on how we treat October 31st changed. NHC took it's eyes off "self" and looked out beyond the four walls.
I've gotten wind of churches who usually have an event "for the community" on October 31st canceling this year because it falls on Sunday. What does that say to the community? I think it is a shame and speaks volumes to the community. Too often we forget that church is not for us, we are the church and the church is for those that need the love of Jesus Christ.
Some churches choose to do nothing on halloween or to continue to do their harvest parties. That's OK. That is up to each individual church. I'm glad that NHC sees this as an opportunity to get the word out to the community through our actions that we love them and care for them and we do so because Jesus loves them and cares for them.