When I became the pastor three years ago our church's approach to Halloween was the typical Fall Festival. There's nothing wrong with this and we continued to have our own Fall Fest for the first two years of my pastorate. For me, our Fall Fest was an approach to minister to our current members as well as reaching out to the community. This year we separated these two needs into two events.
Last week we focused on those that are regular attendees. Instead of meeting at the church we met at Bob and Laurie Hash's home in Luella for food and fun. We enjoyed great food (as always), grilling hot dogs, eating chips and dips, and roasting smores. Then we decorated pumpkins with paints, markers, glitter, spray paint, stickers and anything else that our creative minds could come up with. Lastly, we told a fun story and went to a spooky barn in the dark. Everyone enjoyed the time we shared together.
Tonight (Halloween) instead of asking people to come to our church facilities, which are not easy to find in the first place being in the old part of downtown, we found one of the most visited streets in town for trick-and-treaters. One of our church members has a corner house on the street and we had a blast as we passed out candy and popcorn bags labeled with information about the church for anyone that might be interested.
There's no doubt in my mind that we engaged more that 30 times more people tonight than we ever have at on of our Fall Festivals. For me, this is a huge success for our ministry of the kingdom of God. I'm so thankful for Carl and Doris Bilderback opening up their home so the church could not just go to church, but be the church. I'm also thankful for all of the members that donated candy, their time to put labels on over 300 bags of popcorn, and then those that were able to show up tonight and love on all those ninjas, goblins, cartoon characters. I can see these new approaches to Fall being around for at least another year as we follow our Lord's command to go and make disciples.