Why Parkwood Does Fall Festival

Typically, only those familiar with European or Church History see October 31st to be Reformation Day, a day Protestants reflect as paramount to their history. Take out this small minority, and the rest of our community has spent weeks gearing up for Halloween, a child’s candy-dream come true and a night of promiscuity for many.

Halloween is the one night Christians have collectively learned to neglect our neighbors by hunkering down in our homes, turning off our lights, and having a quiet evening to ourselves. George Robinson, in an article you ought to read, says of Halloween that it “is the only night of the year in our culture where lost people actually go door-to-door to saved people’s homes.” I suggest that lost people do not go to saved people’s homes, but they would! Trick-or-treaters know which doors are prepared for them, and as Ed Stetzer puts it, “You can meet more neighbors tonight—in one night—than any other day of the year” if we are prepared.

Although there has been a stronghold of Christianity in Gastonia and our region, we must view Halloween and other holidays evangelistically and missionally. Consider applying the framework of Matthew 5:14-16 to your Halloween witness. Don’t confine the Gospel message to a dimmed living room. Halloween makes evangelism as convenient as walking to your doorstep prepared to speak with boldness and love.

Many of you who are reading this have signed up to serve at our Fall Festival on our church campus. We are glad that many will serve with connections, food, set up and clean up, and games, but we have distinctives about our church’s Fall Festival that ensure this is not a “church members only” gathering. We put up signs around town, not just an Info Guide blurb. We do it during Trick-or-Treating hours, not an afternoon of another day. We welcome all, not charging or banning those dressed as ghosts or witches. We invite PCO clients specifically. The biggest need left is for those coming and serving to meet new people for the purpose of making disciples. Consider this a local mission trip.

Other Parkwood members will be with their Growth Group in a neighborhood doing what George Robinson discusses in his article. The same applies for them. We all must remain inviting, eager to love kids as the opportunity to share the gospel with adults is immediate. It is exciting to think multiple off campus festivals will see about the same number total as we expect on our property.

Consider these two questions: What would it look like next year for your Growth Group to engage in the neighborhood you meet or where a couple families live? What other holidays or events in our culture provide natural interactions that the church and individuals can utilize for Gospel ministry?

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