Being the Light on a Dark Night
Halloween has become a highly commercialized holiday in America. However, the roots of the holiday go back thousands of years. Throughout the history of the holiday, it has become associated with all things dark and evil.
The extreme focus on evil and darkness has even cause some churches who to disassociate with the holiday all together.
However, I see Halloween as one of the greatest opportunities to shine for Jesus.
John 8:12 states, “I [Jesus] am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." As the church, we have a responsibility to do our best to be like Jesus. And Halloween is an excellent chance to a be a light on an otherwise dark night. Churches should take advantage of that opportunity - like Riviera Baptist Church does with our annual Trunk or Treat.
But we have to be precise in turning Halloween around at church. To do this, there are three elements that I believe are essential to make it a truly light-filled experience.
The first element is purpose. You need to be intentional in why you are choosing to do the event.
There will be many attendees who will be setting foot on your campus for the first time. Are you going to use the event to try and make sure they community knows about your church and what you have to offer? If so, make sure that you have the materials, the information, and the volunteers ready to answer any questions that may come up. If your purpose is to be a safe place for people to come on an otherwise unsafe night, then you will want to ensure all areas of security are taken care of, as your space and building require.
The second is that the event should be free to the public. That will take some creativity on the part of the church. Ask for donations, and then intentionally budget or fund-raise for outreach events like this so that items that are not donated can be purchased.
This also means utilizing many volunteers. Depending on the size of the event, you will need to begin to recruiting people and supplies several weeks in advance of the event. This allows the community to have a place that is free of financial burden on an otherwise money-driven event. Between costumes and candy and transportation, Halloween can place a burden on the finances of a family. You don't want your event to be yet another thing they have to pay out for their kids to participate in Halloween.
The third purpose is to provide the actual, physical light. If the event is indoors, make sure it is well lit and in an open area that is clearly identified. This again may take some creativity on your church's part, especially in larger buildings.
Make sure that the area is easy to contain and manage where people are able to enter and exit safely. If the event is outdoors, again, you will want to address these same issues. This may require renting large lights to illuminate the area that your building's exterior lights don't reach.
Fortunately, there are several rental groups as well as construction companies that rent out large outside lights. Some of these lights can be simply plugged into outdoor outlets, while others require generators, especially if power supplies from your building are out of reach.
Depending on the day of the week that Halloween takes place, the light issue may also be taken care of by having the event earlier in the day, so that sunlight can be used. Especially on weekend-Halloweens, having events take place earlier in the day might even be more beneficial to families with younger children.
At Riviera Baptist Church, this year's annual Trunk or Treat event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It will be hosted on the front lawn of the church at 3071 River Road and will feature plenty of candy and games for the family. There will also be a hot dog dinner available, all free of charge. It's just one of several light-filled events in our community that are hosted by churches and religious organizations in the Eugene/Springfield area. You can search the community events pages on the local radio and TV stations to find out which ones are near you!
Children's Ministry Director
Riviera Baptist Church