Evangelism in Reverse!
by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos
Halloween has been a controversial topic in Bible teaching churches over the past few decades. Unwilling to accept “trick or treating” as benign cultural phenomenon, many pastors and laypersons unmasked their concern, and began to offer alternative activities for their children. Thus was born the popular Harvest Festivals when congregations host a carnival-like night at the church to which families, friends and neighbors can be invited. Sadly, in this debate Christians have overlooked the unique opportunity for creative evangelism that Halloween allows for. Just think of the number of kids from non-church background that come to your front door dressed up as Spiderman, Cinderella, Sponge Bob Square Pants (and a myriad of countless other cultural heroes). They stand at your door and open their bags and willingly accept whatever you drop in.
This past Sunday it dawned on me that Halloween allows us to “do evangelism in reverse.” Those who need Jesus come to us and we have the freedom to put whatever spin we want on the whole Halloween thing.
But what kind of a message are you giving to your neighborhood kids if you refuse to participate? That you’re better than they are? If you are at the church, who is there to welcome the kids? Or if you are at home and (pretend you’re not by leaving your lights off and not answering the doorbell) you are missing an opportunity. Is that what Jesus would do?
Rather I think we need to ask to whom you can extend a Christ-like smile as well as a miniature candy bar. And maybe even a creative Christian greeting. That’s what we’re doing this year. This past week I sat down and wrote the following little poem. You have my permission to print it out and roll it up and give it out with miniature Tootsie Rolls on Halloween night.
Our Trick, God’s Treat
It was really quite neat
that you asked for a treat
when you stopped by
and rang our doorbell.
Though we don’t know your name
we are still glad you came
and would like to pass this on as well.
Long before time began,
Father God had a plan
for His people to all get along.
But we blew it, you see,
when we chose selfishly
to insist on OUR WAY and do wrong.
What we did was a trick
that made God really sick.
But He didn’t trick us in return.
He reached out with a treat
that is sweeter than sweet.
It’s a treat that we never could earn.
God says, “I’ll be your friend!
I’ll forgive all your sin.
I sent Jesus to make you brand new.
On this Halloween night
as you turn out your light,
just remember how much I love you!”
Copyright 2003 by Greg Asimakoupoulos. Used by permission.
I found this perspective on Peggy’s Place. It’s a very encouraging site. I used to love Halloween as a child. It was so fun for me to dress up, carve pumpkins, and visit all the neighbors. It has saddened me that my children can’t really enjoy this holiday due to the negative vibes or opinions of others. Or plainly the out of hand jokers playing tricks or displaying evil thoughts. This view has a whole new perspective for me. I pray that your children can enjoy this fun holiday again that it once was for me as a child. It’s about creativity and fellowship. It’s all what you make it. If you allow your kids to dress appropriately and fun ~ How exciting is that for children? AND what an awesome opportunity to share our faith with others!
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