Before we went to bed last night, Laura said, “Let’s talk about what we’re going to do to reach out to our neighbors this Halloween.”
One thing Laura has learned about me over the past thirty years is that I’m a morning person. Creativity and brainstorming aren't part of my pre-bedtime routine.
But now it’s early in the morning, and I’m ready to talk. My wife, on the other hand, marches to the beat of a different drum and holds to a morning motto of: “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”
So, for now, I’ll talk to you (my blog readers), and later today (before 9:30 pm) Laura and I can debrief.
What are we going to do to reach out to our neighbors this Halloween? Yes, some Christians believe you should lock your doors, turn off your lights, and hide in the basement due to all the paganism associated with this devilish holiday.
I believe Jesus would have taken a different approach. The religious leaders of His day grumbled that “this man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). They even asked the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11).
It appears to me that Jesus was far more concerned about “sinners” than about His reputation among the “righteous.” Clearly, we are not to love the world or the things in the world (2 John 2:15). We are to keep ourselves “unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
But let's not forget that Jesus has sent us “into the world” (John 17:18), and we cannot reach those who are out of our reach. I love the boldness of C.T. Studd (1860-1931) when he wrote, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
So, back to the question, “What are we going to do to reach out to our neighbors this Halloween?” Here are a few suggestions I came up with to share with Laura that might be helpful to you as well:
- 1. Don’t make it complicated. The goal is to be friendly, engaging, and neighborly.
- 2. Don’t be cheap. There’s nothing worse for kids on Halloween than to have some do-good neighbor put one sucker or a stick of gum in their plastic pumpkins or bags.
- 3. Don’t be weird. Okay, it is Halloween, and weird just goes with the territory. But don’t you be weird by cramming a bunch of Bible tracts into trick-or-treaters’ bags and giving your 30-second version of “turn or burn.”
- 4. Be relational. Maybe you can set up a table on your front porch with candy and hot cider, and when parents bring their kids by, engage them in friendly conversation. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know your neighbors.
- 5. Plan a fall block party and invite people to come. Use Halloween as a way to connect with neighbors and invite them to the “party after the party.” Why? Because it gives you more opportunities to have further conversations and continue to build relationships.
- 6. Pray for divine appointments. Remember, Jesus loves people far more than you do, and He will guide you to those who may need a word of encouragement, a friendly smile, or even a prayer.
Whatever you do this Halloween, let your neighbors know that Christians make pretty good neighbors, too.