Halloween can be a controversial holiday. In fact, some of you might be offended that the word Halloween is on this blog and that I referred to it as a holiday. In every church that I’ve served as a student pastor there have been people who hated Halloween and considered it unchristian, and people who embraced it, dressed up, and headed out into their neighborhoods to load up on candy.
The truth is, I can see both views. There are some things with Halloween in our day that would be considered dangerous or unwise for a Christian to engage in. The unfortunate side of this though is that this fear has caused many Christians to withdraw from the community and isolate themselves.
We live in a culture where neighborhoods are becoming less and less engaged with each other. Playing in the front yard and meeting neighbors has shifted to playing in the backyard and closing the garage door behind the car before going into the house. During this one day, Halloween, there’s more natural opportunity to be engaged with your neighbors and the people of your community than any other time of the year. I’m afraid that as Christians we miss this opportunity far too often.
Here are some ways that you can make the most of Halloween as a Christian and a student ministry:
- Use it as a time to build relationships with neighbors. Set up a fire pit in your driveway and actually talk with people who live near you. Be friendly and ask people’s names.
- Encourage the students and others that you lead to see this day for what it is: a gospel opportunity. This is a great teaching moment to help people see how the gospel should infiltrate every part of our lives.
- Don’t be the house that gives out anti-Halloween gospel tracts. That won’t help you build gospel focused relationships in your community; it isolates you from people. Give the kids some candy, you won’t lose your salvation.
- If you have an event at your church make sure it isn’t just for your “own people”, but that it is used as a tool to reach out to the community at large.
- If someone within the body of Christ has a different view from you on this issue don’t allow it to cause division.
Engaging with your community on Halloween doesn’t mean that you’re supporting the things you don’t like about Halloween. You don’t have to decorate, dress up, carve a pumpkin, or watch horror films. You can separate, your family and students, from whatever it is that holds you up while still using it as an opportunity for the gospel. This is a crucial lesson for your students to learn and understand in their development as a Christ follower. If we inadvertently teach them to withdraw from the culture any time they disagree with it, then we aren’t developing an army of culture-shaping influencers. Instead, we are building an army of culture retreaters. We are meant for so much more than retreat, and so are your students.
This post was written by Ben Trueblood, Director of Lifeway Student Ministry