Halloween is one of our strangest of American Holidays. Due to its origin and history, it causes for some interesting reactions in the Christian community. Some believers think it’s no big deal and just celebrate it like everyone else. Some think it’s a Holiday of the Devil and won’t go near it. Then there’s lots of people who fall right in between the two extremes.
All this coupled with parents’ desire to keep their children safe in our crazy society has all but stopped the random go-down-any-street trick-or-treating of days gone by. In response to all of these factors, many churches have chosen to take a very positive stance and offer an alternative to the community with a Fall Festival. This creates an often very effective open door to the community for outreach and ministry. Many churches today reach more people on Halloween night by offering this event than they do all year with any other emphasis.
If your church offers a Fall Festival, get your students involved. Make it a part of your ministry to get them engaged with the parents and children who will be coming to your church. They can truly make a difference in the number of volunteers you have and in the lives of those kids who show up. It is a clear intersection to help them engage their community in a positive way.
If your church doesn’t offer a Fall Festival, consider going and volunteering for a church that does. Now, that would be a pure ministry opportunity, to help another church reach out! Or maybe you could join some other positive community event. If that idea doesn’t fly with the church leadership, get your students together and brainstorm a way you can reach out in the name of your own church on this night where families and children are going to be accessible in a way they never are the rest of the year.
Regardless of how you or your church feels about the celebration of Halloween, it has most definitely become a unique opportunity for ministry to the families of your community. Give your students a chance to have fun, work together, and reach out to your community around October 31.
It is crucial in today’s student ministry to not just minister to students, but to teach them how to minister. After all, are we not training up our next set of leaders? Getting them ready to reach their own culture in college and beyond? What better strategy could you have than to show them creative ways to respond to their world and engage their faith in unique ways?
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. —1 Peter 2:9-13a