One thing many people can count on every year on October 31 is children coming to their door for trick-or-treat. To some this is an annoyance while to others it is a time for dressing up like . . . (well, there’s quite a variety here). Christians often find themselves caught in the middle over this pagan holiday and for good reason.
What is standing out in my mind this year is the simple fact that children will be coming to my door on October 31.
My church has been declining in numbers as our congregation ages, and we have only one child and a couple of teenagers left in our congregation. We want to reach out into the community and bring in young families but we don’t know who they are or where to find them. Hello! They are coming to our doors Tuesday evening, October 31.
What can we do to make the most of this opportunity to reach out to young families?
Create and print up invitations to your church, and encourage all church members to give them out to their trick-or-treaters. Include a schedule of regular activities – especially activities for children, youth, and anything that might appeal to young parents. If the only thing you have to offer is a Sunday school class, recruit some volunteers and plan an upcoming event that might appeal to young families and give out the invitations.
This plan is still in its spawning stages for me, so I’m brainstorming for ideas for such an event. Here are a few starters. I hope some readers will share ideas in the comments below.
- I want something uplifting spiritually as well as simple play time, so a short but strong devotion would definitely be a part of the plan. This would not be an extension of Halloween with spooks and goblins.
- The Pray & Play Bible for Young Children by Group Publishing offers some great ideas for both activities for children and devotions to include the parents.
- Some VBS programs are designed in a way that they can be used over a weekend. Or choose a particular day’s lesson out of a former VBS week and use it as a theme for your activities.
- A Thanksgiving theme would be especially timely.
- Create “care packages” for shut-ins, homeless, or otherwise needy people.
- . . . ? Hoping for more ideas in the comments . . .
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