A Unique Opportunity for Mission
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 this Tuesday. 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's missionaries.
Be Hospitable—Don’t Just Give Out Candy
- Give out the best candy. Please, don't give out tracts or toothbrushes or pennies. Kids are looking for the master loot of candy. Put yourself in their shoes.
- 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 entryway inviting so they want to come closer and hang for a bit if possible.
- 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.
- Be encouraging. Tell the kids you love their costumes and to have a great night. Practice building others up with words.
- 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).
- Learn the stories. If you are out trick or treating with the kiddos or staying back with the other parents, ask questions.et 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 my wife Jayne was hanging with his wife 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.
Ask the Spirit to open your eyes and ears to the real needs around you.
Go to Their Place—Join What Is Happening Elsewhere
- 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.
- 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.
- Head to where the local community gathers. 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 Lead, Guide, and Work
- Pay attention. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes and ears to the real needs around you.
- Stay dependent. Ask the Spirit to help you listen, care for, and serve those around you.
- Open doors. Ask the Spirit for open doors for new relationships and gospel conversations.
This content was originally posted on jeffvanderstelt.com.
A person is gospel fluent when the gospel becomes their "mother tongue."
To become truly gospel fluent is to be able to listen to somebody well enough to hear the real longing or hurts that they're dealing with.
Listen and pay attention—the Lord will give you the right words to bring the gospel to a non-Believer in a way that meets their needs and fulfills their longings.