As we approach this Saturday’s Fall Festival, it’s worth asking why even host an event like this. Some may honestly ask: why spend money to feed hundreds of people and rent inflatables for children? Why ask volunteers to give up time on a Saturday evening to serve? Why make a mess with candy wrappers in the field and dirty up the restrooms inside?
These questions and more are legitimate questions to ask and each deserves an answer. Gospel ministry does cost time, money, and energy and, therefore, we should not (and, quiet frankly, cannot) take on every opportunity before us. In my estimation, however, this year’s Fall Festival provides our church with a unique opportunity to show and share Jesus’ love with our community. Here are a few reasons why I think so:
- Gospel Leverage: For better or worse, our culture recognizes Halloween as a meaningful holiday for children. Just go to the store and shop online in October. Companies create marketing strategies geared towards families of younger children precisely around October 31. While we don’t have to embrace the holiday, we cannot ignore it either. If most families are gearing up for a special holiday, we should aim to leverage it for God’s glory and furthering of his kingdom.
- Safer Alternative: Parents are looking for safer alternatives to door-to-door trick-or-treating. For a number of years, Christy and I have taken our kids trick-or-treating and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s fun to be outside on cool, fall evenings; we have had some good friends in our neighborhood we can catch up with; and who doesn’t like chocolate? Increasingly, though, parents are more and more concerned about the safety of door-to-door trick-or-treating. For many people, a fall festival provides a safer alternative.
- Communal Longings: God designed people to be in relationships. He gave Eve to Adam, and then, gave them children. He brought his people, Israel, together as a covenant community. Since Christ, he brings his people, the church, together as one body. Ironically, though, the past 20 years or so of social media have had an opposite effect on people’s sense of belonging to a community. If loneliness was on the rise prior to 2020, COVID-19 put loneliness on steroids. The truth is, for many people today, loneliness is part and parcel to being human. Fall festivals do not solve this problem. However, they do create space for real people to gather and interact with one another.
Will you join me praying and asking the Lord to use this weekend’s Fall Festival at Woolsey Baptist Church to allow us to show and share the gospel, provide a safe alternative to families, and create space for families to talk and be with one another? I look forward to seeing you there!