How to leverage Halloween to reach more students
What special thing do you do for Halloween?
Each year we reach tons of unchurched students because we are making Halloween a way for our students to invite and speak the gospel into their friends lives. I am apart of youth pastor Facebook groups and this time of year there are tons of questions about what youth pastors do to reach students. I am always surprised at what youth pastors say. I am especially surprised at what they say in a post christian culture.
There is a huge opportunity to reach a mass amount of students. It’s easy for your students to invite friends to a Halloween event. It just is. We don’t need more “harvest parties, or trick or trunks”, we need to reach unchurched students and families.
We do two events each year that are a huge hit with our students and with students in our community. But first, you have to realize that there is an opportunity for your church to reach people that are unreached if you do a few things a bit differently.
When I was a kid, I didn’t go to church. Each year at Halloween we would go anywhere to get candy. Anywhere! We also knew where the best candy was. I remember seeing Christian homes with all the lights off. I didn’t realize why they were doing this, and I thought they were hiding from the evil. Jeff Vanderstelt shares the importance of Christians being in the world, ” Christians are truly called to move toward need, and be in the middle of the brokenness. We are not of the world, but we are sent into it.”
Be a youth ministry that is sent into the world to share Christ with it.
We don’t do things on Halloween night. This is a night for our church to be in the community. They need to be out there meeting their neighbours, and being the good news in the neighbourhood. We do run events the week before Halloween. It means that this week we are running two huge events that will attract students. These events are ways for us to share the gospel to a culture that is broken and hurting.
The two events we do are both in our store. The first one is called Hallowfest. It’s essentially a party. We have a costume contest, candy, food, and dj for a dance party. We do it off site, and it’s the best. We also do an event called Candy Auction for our Jr.Youth. We buy upwards of $300 worth of candy and auction it off. There is also a costume contest at this event. At both events we do a clear gospel message, and follow up package.
Every year at this season as we approach Halloween, We as Christians get weirded out. Why do we have such a weak understanding of the gospel? Why isn’t the gospel being lived out and proclaimed on Halloween?
4 years ago, we started doing events the week before Halloween that are attractional. It’s a way for our students that we have to share the gospel in a real way. It means that your students need to know the gospel, and how to share it.
That first year we did Halloween events, I got a ton of push back. Even core people in my ministry didn’t agree with it. People couldn’t believe that we were doing a “Halloween event”.
That year we had 15 students come to know Christ. 3 of those students came on our student leadership team, and 2 of those 3 are now in Bible College on their way to full time ministry. If that isn’t a reason why we should redeem Halloween, I don’t know what is.
Jeff Vanderstelt in the video below shares how Halloween can be away not to hide or separate ourselves from the world, but to be in it and share the gospel. “There is a chain of inseparable realities in our local churches that shape the way we look at the costumes shuffling down our streets and knocking on our doors on All Hallows Eve. The first reality, as Jeff Vanderstelt explains, is the fluency of gospel proclamation in our communities of faith. We want to be churches that proclaim the gospel to one another, believers to believers. And then, building off this reality, it’s inevitable that we begin to share the gospel with those who don’t know Jesus.”
This Halloween be the good news in your community. Help your students and their families know and live out the gospel.