Today is Halloween and I’m wearing a Tony Romo jersey in the office. He’s the scariest quarterback in the NFL; I think it’s appropriate. If I’d had the time, I would have completed the outfit with eye black, a Cowboys cap on backwards, super dark glasses, and a seeing-eye dog.
Well, I don’t know what your church is doing tonight, but here at Central we’re cancelling all of our Bible classes. We’re not doing anything here at the building. The doors are going to be locked and the lights will be out. But we’re not just canceling church; we’re taking church to the streets in order to better engage our community with the Gospel of Christ. Many people in our neighborhoods will be out in our streets and walking our sidewalks tonight. They’ll be walking right in front of our houses, in a lot of cases, even walking up to our doors to ring the bell. Most of the people in our neighborhoods who aren’t trick-or-treating are at least anticipating that their doorbells will be rung. They bought candy and set it by the door. They’re turning on their porch lights and getting ready. Most everybody in our city tonight will be in a receiving mood, expecting to interact with people in their neighborhoods, preparing to meet new people, to learn new things.
It seems like a really bad time for God’s people to be holed up by themselves in a building somewhere.
We’ve been asking our people at Central to not just skip church tonight, but to be creative in taking advantage of the mood this evening to interact with their neighbors. We’re urging our people to be intentional about engaging others with the love and grace of Jesus. Pray about it. Make a plan. Get others involved. Think outside your normal Halloween routines. Don’t just trick-or-treat with the kids. Don’t just hand out candy from your front door for three hours. Be creative and bless the people around you on purpose.
I spent about two hours last night stringing up orange and purple Halloween lights in our trees and along the front of our house. We’ve replaced the front porch light and the lamp post light in the front yard with creepy black bulbs. We’ll have funny Halloween music blasting from a CD player in the bushes. Carrie-Anne has already purchased ten gallons of hot apple cider and we’ve got 250 little styrofoam cups. We’ve moving all the backyard furniture, including our big fire pit, into the front. And we’re going to set up a little warming station at the corner of Oakhurst and Roxton.
I have no idea how this is going to work. I don’t know what will come of it. I’m hoping that after two or three years of this, we’ll come to be known as the house where people in our neighborhood can warm up by a fire and drink some cider while they’re trick-or-treating. I’m hoping we’ll meet a lot of people who will see our kind and gracious God in the ways we interact with them. I don’t know where this will lead. But our family will pray about it tonight during a rushed and early dinner, anticipating that our God certainly knows what to do with this. In faith, we’re giving this to him. And we trust that he will use our little neighborhood warming station for his purposes and to his eternal glory and praise.