I love Halloween! My mind fills with memories of wandering East Kessler – the annual visit with Mrs. Fry, Marty demanding a “trick” before the “treat.” Dressing up, staying up late, and candy – what could be better!
For most of the last decade, Laura and I have thrown a big Halloween party for our friends and family. As the invite list has grown, our 1920’s Craftsman has reached its limit. Thank goodness the party intentionally spills into the streets.
Halloween and neighboring go hand and hand. For what other time of the year is it expected to go from house to house, engaging and providing hospitality among neighbors. Even if you don’t go out, your street comes to you!
Therefore, with a week to go, I encourage you to consider how you can make this Halloween an intentional practice in neighboring. With a little effort, you connect with some new folks, celebrate good weather and good times, and create something of lasting value in your neighborhood.
“Trick or Treat | Hit the Street | Give your Neighbors a Chance to Meet!” 🙂
12 Simple Ways to be on Mission this Halloween
Originally posted by Jeff Vanderstelt on the Verge Network
This coming Halloween offers a great opportunity for many to engage in new relationships with those around us or to revisit some old relationships with new missional intentionality. Regardless of what you think of the holiday and it’s roots, the culture we have been sent by Jesus to reach is going to celebrate Halloween. We all have in front of us a wide open door for missionary engagement in our neighborhoods. I want to encourage you not to miss out on the opportunity.
If you are looking to be more intentionally engaged this year, I want to present you with a few ideas for how you can more effectively walk through the open door that Halloween presents to us as Jesus’ missionaries.
BE HOSPITABLE: Don’t just give out candy
1. Give out the best Candy – Please, don’t give out tracks or toothbrushes or pennies…kids are looking for the master loot of candy. Put yourself in their shoes.
2. Think of the Parents – Consider having some Hot Apple Cider and pumpkin bread or muffins out for the parents who are bringing their little kiddos around the block. Make your entry-way inviting so they want to come closer and hang for a bit if possible.
3. Be Present – Don’t hide out all night. Come out to the door or hang out on the porch and if they stop to have some cider, get to know their names and where they live in the neighborhood.
4. Be Encouraging – Tell the kids you love their costumes and to have a great night. Practice building others up with words.
5. Party – If you’re really into it, you may want to throw a pre-Trick or Treating party. Provide dinner and drinks. Then, send the dads out trick or treating with the kids while the moms continue hanging with some hot apple cider, coffee or tea. Then reconvene with the parents and kids together to examine all of the loot (kids love to show their parents and other kids the loot).
6. Learn the Stories – If you are out Trick or Treating with the kiddos or staying back with the other parents, ask questions…get to know their stories. Pay attention to their hearts and their felt needs. Look for opportunities to serve them later. This is how I first got to know Clay (while Jayne was hanging with Kristi and the other moms). I learned his story while we were with the kids and Jayne got to know hers. This led to both of them eventually coming to faith in Jesus.
GO TO THEIR PLACE: Join what is happening elsewhere
7. Attend the Party – If others are throwing parties, you may want to join them. If so, bring drinks, food or whatever is needed. Then, serve by helping to clean up.
8. Join the Community – If your community has key events, join them and invite some neighbors to go with you (then get to know their stories along the way). Our area has a trick or treating event on a main street where all the businesses give out candy, the firemen give tours of the fire engines, etc. We go with a group of friends to this each year and consistently meet more people to reach out to.
9. Head to the “Watering Holes” – If you do not have kids or are not going to engage in the Trick or Treating activities or events, consider going to the local pubs, restaurants or clubs near you for their events and get to know the people there. Make it your goal to learn the story of at least one person who needs Jesus and walk away with some next steps on how to serve them. You will want to do this with others so that you don’t go it alone.
BE PRAYERFUL: Ask for the Spirit to led, guide and work
10. Pay Attention – Ask the Spirit to open your eyes and ears to the real needs around you.
11. Stay Dependent – Ask the Spirit to help you listen, care and serve those around you.
12. Open Doors – Ask the Spirit for open doors for new relationships and gospel conversations.
About the Author: Jeff Vanderstelt is one of the founding leaders of Soma Tacoma, a multi-expression, church-planting church. He serves at Soma Tacoma as an Elder, Missional Community Leader and Teacher, and oversees Leadership Development and Vision. He is also the Apostolic Movement and Visionary Leader of Soma, a family of churches spread throughout North America. Jeff is married to Jayne and together they love and shepherd their three children in gospel, life, and mission. Follow on Twitter
Check out these other posts from the Verge Network connecting Halloween and mission:
- 3 Practical Ways To Be Missional This Halloween (Or, Why Jesus Wouldn’t Attend The “Harvest Party” At Your Church) by Seth McBee
- Halloween Is For Mission – 5 Practical Ways to be Missional on Halloween by Brian McCormack