Memory Cross Weblog

Sharing the Gospel in a fun and creative way

Trunk or Treat – Churches find new way to connect with their community

There is a growing trend among churches in the United States and it is finding plenty of children willing to participate.

Halloween continues to grow in popularity, spurred on mostly by manufacturers of Halloween costumes, decorations and candy companies.  Many Christians struggle with the issue of Halloween.  According to most accounts, the fall seasonal celebration we now call Halloween originated from Celtic and pagan beliefs.

It was believed that as the harvest season ended and winter approached, the spirits of the dead were most active, intent on mischief and mayhem toward the living. Bonfires and costumes were supposed to frighten away spirits, while treats were set out, and sometimes sacrifices offered to appease them.

St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland and the church eventually instituted All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, and later All Souls’ Day, Nov. 2, in an attempt to Christianize the season. As Christianity grew in influence, the ancient pagan practices waned.

Many Christians still struggle over Halloween.  Some think that we should not celebrate it at all while a growing number are turning Halloween into a Christian event with Trunk or Treats and Hallelujah festivals.  These are bringing a large number of children and parents to the events.  At the Trunk or Treat or Hallelujah festivals kids receive candy, play games, eat and receive information about the church or the Gospel.

Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and Trunk or Treat parties have become one way to do that.

One fun way to share the Gospel has been with Memory Cross’s “What could be better than free candy card”.   The message on the card reads “Free Candy!  That’s what Halloween is all about!  Just dress up in a costume, say, “Trick or Treat!” and get Free Candy!  What could be better than that?  God’s Love!  That’s the sweetest Gift of all!

When you put this card into the hands of kids they will be fascinated with it and read it over and over says Pastor Lambert.  The card is so unique that even people who do not believe agree that this card is a great way to get the message out.

If people want to know more they have put a link to a site called NeedHim.org.  This site gives them much more information about Christ and contains some videos designed for children.  The cards can also be ordered with a spot for a church to put in their information.

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September 21, 2009 Posted by | Halloween Memory Cross Cards | Leave a comment

Ways for your church to reach out

Church outreach. There are a million things that we could do. Jesus commanded us to go and make deciples but how do you do that? How do you reach todays tech savy but not church savy youth?

Go where they hang out. That is increasingly online in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. Facebook is the fastest growing so I’ll use it as an example.

The first thing to do is set up an account. It’s painless and quick. Once you have your account set up start adding people to your friends list. Start by telling the youth you work with that you have an account and ask them to add you as their friend. Once you have friends you can go to their friends and add people you know.

Now that you have a few people you can start posting and reading posts. Post every day or two. That way people who don’t personally know you will come to know you by the posts you make. I recommend making personal posts and posts that are relevant to your kids. This could be a daily Scripture or something else that you want to pass along.

Spend time reading posts also. Kids put up personal information and you’ll be able to learn more about their life through Facebook. As you get to know them better you’ll be able to reach them.

If you’re the youth worker or have a small group you might want to consider adding your group to Facebook.

Facebook can be a great way to minister to your youth. If you have other ways that you are using Facebook let me know. I’m sure there are a lot of great ideas that I have not even thought of.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , , , | Leave a comment

Christian Halloween?

I was searching Google today and noticed how many people were typing in the search term “Christian Halloween”. That got me thinking and also gave me hope. A few years ago it seemed like most Christians did not want to participate in Halloween but now we are beginning to look at as an outreach opportunity.

And it is truely an ministry. Churches are having trunk-or-treat events and alternative Halloween parties and they are using these to reach out to their communities.

As a partner in Memory Cross we have felt that Halloween provided a number of opportunities to reach out. First for those communities that still trick or treat we have an opportunity to share the Gospel. The more facinating we can make the tract the more likely that it will get read.

For churches that are having Trunk-or-Treat events they can be a great outreach opportunity. Our church has done it for the last few years and we’ve had hundreds of kids from the community come out. They’ve enjoyed getting candy, eating hot dogs, playing games and riding on the hay ride. We’ve also provided information to each child and parent about our church.

Bill Gibson, one of the founders of Memory Cross said we’ll change Halloween to Hallelujah for the King.

September 14, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , , | 2 Comments

How to create a trunk or treat event

Trunk or Treat is a Halloween event that is often church or community-sponsored. People gather and park their cars in a large parking lot. They open their trunks or the backs of their vehicles and decorate them. Then they pass out candy from their trunks. The event provides a safe family environment for trick or treaters. This event normally draws a large number of kids from outside the church who’s parents are looking for a safe place for their kids to trick or treat.  Many churches provide some information about their church and present the Gospel.  Memory Cross cards are a favorite choice to use.

The them of the Halloween candy card is “What can be better than free candy?  The card then goes on to present the Gospel and provides a place where your church can invite them to come visit and find out more next Sunday.

When it comes to decorating your vehicle there are the obvious choices, like decorating for Halloween, using pumpkins, spider webbing, spiders, brooms, bats, cauldrons or fun stuff like the 50’s themes or cartoon characters.

If your church has the facilities consider including a hot dog or hamburger cook out, homemade ice cream, hay ride or some other activities.  These will not only draw more people in but provide more opportunities to draw people together.

Now that you have the idea for your trunk or treat it’s time to start thinking about how to promote it.  This will vary depending on where you live but here are a few ideas:

  1. Public Service announcements – Most papers and radio stations air public service announcements.  Plan on getting them in 30 days before your event.
  2. Flyers handed out to local daycares and sent home with parents who have children in your church.
  3. Posters put up at local stores.
  4. Newspaper advertisements
  5. Get church members to help spread the word
  6. Signage out in front of the church.

I’m sure there are more but if you do these things you’ll get a crowd.  What a wonderful way to be able to reach out to your community.  If you you have any other ideas that you want to add post them here.

If you are looking for a creative way to share the Gospel at Halloween then try “What could be better than Free Candy” Memory Cross card.  It makes a great trunk or treat gift.

Here is what Dawn Massa of Lightly Salted Graphics said:

This year, instead of getting myself all worked up over the idea that Christians don’t celebrate Halloween, I decided to take the “if ya can’t beat it, use it to your advantage” approach.  My 6-year old went to school as “Bibleman,”  I put pumpkins on my front lawn that spelled out the words “FEAR NOT,” and I ordered a few packs of your Memory Cross tracts to give out with the candy.

Walking home from my son’s elementary school, we always pass crowds of kids going in the opposite direction from the middle and high schools.  I took a pack of your tracks with me (and some candy) and offered both treats to every kid we passed.  The kids thought the tracts were TOTALLY COOL.  Only one problem… I ran out before I got half way home!

The same thing happened with the trick or treaters that rang my bell… the second pack was gone in less than an hour.  It broke my heart that I had the opportunity, but not the resources. Next year, I plan on ordering a LOT more.  (If you’re having an “After Halloween Sale” please let me know.)

Thanks for a truly unique tool to share the good news!

September 14, 2009 Posted by | 1 | , | 3 Comments