What if I told you once a year lost people will flock to the homes of Christians everywhere? Wouldn't we want those Christians to be at home for this? Sure we would. We would all wait with anticipation as our neighbors come one by one to our homes.
But what if I also told you that most of us have this happen every year but we aren't at home for it? That's right. I'm talking about Halloween. The one day a year that our lost neighbors knock on OUR door for a change.
More often than not though, we aren't at home because we are at our church doing a fall festival or trunk or treat. Especially if Halloween falls on a Wednesday, Sunday, or Saturday. It happens to fall on a Saturday this year so it's especially true for most of us.
But here are three reasons why your church should cancel its fall festival this year & encourage your people to stay home.
1. By and large, lost people are no longer coming to us.
Now, there are some exceptions to this. But, the majority of lost people in our community aren't coming to our event. Some will. But most won't. And even the ones that do come we know they are walking away with candy but it's likely none will walk away with Christ.
We need a change in mindset when it comes to reaching people that don't know Jesus. We have to stop doing events in our church that invite lost people to come to us. Why? Two reasons. One is practical & the other is theological.
First the practical: Because they simply aren't coming to us anymore. They aren't coming. They aren't interested in what we have to offer. They don't want to come to our turf. And so it's just not working to forward the long term mission of our church.
Second, the theological: The great commission tells us to GO & make disciples not invite them to come to us. In other words, when we are asking lost people to come to us, we are expecting them to obey the command of Jesus instead of us. We are expecting them to do the great commission. We are expecting the lost to be the missionary instead of us.
If we are going to see lost people come to Jesus, we can't expect them to come to our churches, we the church must go to them. Or in this case rather, we the church should stay home!
2. Bait and switch isn't the best method for introducing people to Jesus.
We Christians are pros at the bait & switch technique. We offer a product or a service & then introduce people to Jesus. We promise free candy, food, & a good time & throw Jesus at them at the end. This bait & switch mentality isn't the best way for people to have their first introduction to Jesus.
Wouldn't it be better if people got introduced to Jesus through a real relationship with a person like.....I don't know.....a person that lives on the same street as them? I believe it would. So why not stay home & use Halloween as a chance to connect with your neighbors. Set up the grill in the front yard & cook burgers & hot dogs. Give them away for free with lots of good candy. Good candy, not the gross stuff that comes in those orange & black wrappers.
Who knows what connections & conversions we might have with a lost neighbor who comes to our house? Who knows what future conversations that connection might lead to? Maybe this is the first step for you to move back into your neighborhood.
It just might be the best way to get the gospel to your neighbor is not to invite them to your church event but to be the church to your neighbor in your own neighborhood. All of this is possible without even having to change out of your house shoes.
3. The lost are literally coming door to door to US!
Ok, I've already mentioned this but it needs repeating. They are coming to us. We don't have to do anything. They want to come! They are asking to come. No one feels weird or awkward or doesn't know what to say or do. Everyone goes to everyone's door & asks for candy. It's natural.
And we need more natural connections with people that don't know Jesus. We need ways to engage the lost with the gospel that doesn't feel forced. Halloween is one of those times.
You might not like the holiday. That's ok. This isn't about us. It's about the families that you drive past everyday who need to hear the gospel & you may be the only person in their life that can tell them about it.
So, cancel your fall festival & just stay home. We might be surprised at the effect we could have if we did. I'm convinced we will have more impact for the kingdom of God if Christians moved back into their neighborhood rather than doing events in the church parking lot.