October 31st . . . for much of America this day means dressing up and eating candy until you literally get a cavity overnight. This is true for both the churched and the un-churched in many places. However, this date means something different from some Christians (such as myself). October 31st is Reformation Day; the day that Martin Luther took his stand against the Roman Catholic Church and nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church in 1517. It was a day that marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. This 31st day means different things for different people. I am not setting out to argue for or against the tradition of “trick or treating.” My family has chosen to not participate most years; however, a recent conversation with my mother has caused me to consider an alternative approach to the day. It was such a brilliant idea that I thought I would share it with those who may decide to join in the candy grabbing tradition.
Here is the idea: When your children go trick-or-treating (assuming they want to treat instead of trick), use it as an opportunity to have a gospel conversation. Take a Bible tract, church information card, or even a Bible to give to each person or home that you visit. Instead of just getting something delicious that will only last a short while, present them with the bread of life that can sustain them for eternity. There is no doubt that this kind of thing could (and should) be done every day of the year, but I believe that this day can be used and capitalized on. Below are three reasons why.
This is the one time a year you have an open invitation to knock on someone’s door.
We live in a day and time where we are more and more inclusive than ever. We are so busy in our lives that our homes have become a place of seclusion instead of a haven for friends and family. Front porches are smaller, man caves are more popular, and many do not even know what a welcome mat is. However, on this day, many openly welcome you to their home. They welcome you to ring their door bell or knock on their door. They do not run and hide as if you are a Jehovah’s Witness. They eagerly wait for you with an open door and an open bowl of candy. Can you think of a better time than this to bear witness to Christ by inviting them to your church, giving them a gospel tract, or giving them a Bible? This is an open invitation.
This is the one time a year you can talk freely to a stranger.
It goes something like this; “Ding Dong . . . oh look at you. Let’s see, we have a princess, a construction worker (who is actually Thor from the Avengers), and a little bear. Let me give you some candy. Now, just take one each . . .” They have engaged your children in conversation. A perfect stranger has given you the opportunity to speak to them, in their home. How hard would it be for your older children to say, “Oh thank you so much and we would like to give you this card that has information about our church on it. I don’t know if you know Jesus, or attend a church, but we would love to invite you to ours. Thanks again, and God bless.” Do you think that would leave an impression? You don’t often want your children talking to strangers, but this is the one time of the year that they can benefit from the opportunity.
This is the one time of the year that you actually go out as a family to specifically meet so many different people.
Let’s face it, while many people may have the intention to go door-to-door in their neighborhood to talk to their neighbors about the Lord, most of the time they never get around to it. Here is the perfect opportunity to kill those preverbal birds with one stone. You are already going to be taking your children door to door, use it as an opportunity to witness to your neighbor. Let you children see you do it, so that they can in turn learn how to do it themselves. It does not have to be a formal thing, but by at least initiating a gospel conversation you may open an opportunity for later conversation with them. If you are going out anyway, use it for the glory of God.
Will this be a new Halloween (Reformation day) tradition for my family? I am not sure of that yet, but I love the idea of it. So, will you join in this year? I am sure your church would love to supply you with the needed tools if you don’t already have them yourself. Instead of just focusing on family fun this year, use it as an opportunity to not just make memories with your kids, but make an impact for the Kingdom.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Adam B. Burrell