Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why we don't do a Fall Festival

I have had about 30 requests to do a Fall Festival this year and here are the top 10 reasons KidZone does not sponsor a Fall Festival or Trunk or Treat.

1. There about 100 churches in the valley doing something.
2. Being on top of the mountain it could be a very chilly and windy night.
3. The vast majority of our events are geared towards bringing the parents and children back together in some positive ways.
4. As a staff we have been discussing moving towards a more simple church, less event-driven model. We are looking to trim down not add on more events.
5. We do a Christmas choir, an Easter egg hunt, a father-daughter banquet, a lock-in, a mother-son event, a grand-prix, children's basketball league and summer camp along with VBS. Enough!
6. It's one holiday I can just be dad and not Pastor Marty to my own children.
7. We do a huge carnival and spend buckoo bucks every summer as a climax to VBS. We would have to take money away from that and try to do two. Why?
8. Some people like to do an outreach in their own neighborhoods.
9. We do a fall festival for our preschool - don't want to plan two.
10. Because I don't want too!

Patsy at a fall fair we did in 1995

All Hallow's Eve

What to do about Halloween? What to do when good people disagree? These two questions go together like peanut butter and jelly. I grew up in a conservative Pentecostal church and thank God for my upbringing. About this time of the year there was plenty of teachings going around about the history of Halloween and evils of participating. As children we did not trick or treat or anything of the nature. I totally respect each parent's decision on what to do during this event. For my family we have decided to try and redeem the holiday. Martin Luther and others tried to do this by celebrating Reformation Day and All Hallow's Day on November 1st. For awhile this worked but at some point Christians such as the Puritans in America pulled out all together of all holidays and this left the void to a complete reversal into paganism. Our society has completely embraced this holiday and we have chosen to be part of a growing movement to redeem the holiday. To take what Satan meant for evil and turn it to good. The book Redeeming Halloween by Kim Weir and Pam McCure has lots of ideas on how to do this.
There are certain aspects of the holiday that are just cultural and for the most part are harmless in my view. Here is what we do or have done:

1. The Pumpkin devotional (see below)
2. Visit a nursing home/shut-ins for trick or treat
3. Only dress in positive good costumes
4. Give Christian comic books
5. Trunk or treat at a church
6. We have hosted a fall festival at church before (I will post why we don't now later)
7. Talk about Reformation Day and who Martin Luther was
8. Roast pumpkin seeds and eat them!!!

My goal here is to be a positive impact on the culture and teach my kids how to be a light on a dark night.
This is an example of the pumpkin devotional:

Halloween devotion. Get a large pumpkin and recruit six group members to help. As yourkids carve the pumpkin, have them use the following devotion to help remind the children what it means to have Jesus in their hearts:
Group Member #1-(Cut out the stem part and pull out the gooey insides.) *Say: Yuck! This is what we look like inside when Jesus doesn't live in our hearts. All the bad things we do and all the mean and grumpy things we say are rotten and slimy just like the inside of this pumpkin. Just like our pumpkin couldn't clean itself out, we can't clean ourselves up without Jesus' help.
Group Member #2-(Show the inside of the pumpkin all cleaned out.) *Say: When we decide we want to love and follow Jesus, he comes into our hearts and cleans up all the nasty stuff sin causes. And Jesus gives us all a very important job.
Group Member #3-(Carve the eyes.) *Say: Jesus wants our eyes to look at everyone with love.
Group Member #4-(Carve the nose.) *Say: Jesus wants our noses to sniff all around and find all the kind and wonderful people we know: teachers who help us to learn, parents who cook us our meals, and the mail carrier who brings us our mail. Jesus wants us to be sure to thank all the special people we know.
Group Member #5-(Carve the mouth in a smile.) *Say: Jesus wants us to use our mouths to tell everyone we know about him. So be sure to tell someone about Jesus' love this week.
Group Member #6-(Put a candle in the jack-o'-lantern and light it.) *Say: When Jesus lives in our hearts, he cleans out the mess inside. Even better, he lights up our lives so that everyone who looks at us can see his love shine out, just like this pumpkin shines right now. Close with a song such as "This Little Light of Mine.

Author: Lana Mclaughlin

You can buy some great gifts to hand out at this website

Other great ideas for an an outreach at your home can be found here

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I am reading a great book right now on fathering called "King Me". It deals with the father-son relationship and it is very insightful. For those who know me this is one of my passions. Christians today stand on the precipe of irrelevancy in American culture. In my opinion if we loose another generation to the world the church will become an insignificant remnant. Not that it will remain that way forever, but might for the foreseeable future. Sort of like Europe where huge cathedrals stand empty as tourist destinations. Why is this coming. For three generations the church has been in decline in America in terms of attendance. A lesser percentage of people claim Christ as their Savior with each generation. Part of this reason is because we ignore our own children. We sacrifice them on the altars of money, social life, ministry and

sports. Its sad that so many parents honestly do not like being with their kids. Christian parents. I'm not thinking of a particular person here but so many in general. This is a little radical here, but maybe fewer people should have children. To give them nice clothes, sign them up for ballet and soccer and karate, to limit their fat intake and make sure they do their homework is not enough. We have to passionately pursue their heart. Much like we have to passionately keep our hearts aflame for Jesus and our spouse. It tears me up to see so many parents miss the boat on this. How do we inspire them and equip them? There are so many resources out there. This book is just one example. In one excerpt author Steve Farrar talks about a railroad built over Panama before the canal was built. It is an engineering marvel, especially for it's day. Many bridges had to be built which drove the costs up and caused many delays. The author talks about how this parallels parenting. We always have to be building bridges to our sons (and daughters). Just because we built one when they were three doesn't mean we don't have to build another one at age five. And so on. I am far from a perfect father. But I will tell you this - I not only love my sons, I love to be with them. I don't like leaving them for more than a couple of days and then I get real homesick for them. I am also more passionate about seeing them find their place in God's kingdom than I am in my retirement account or my next series in Kid Kove or the Bears football team or going to see a movie with "the guys" (whoever they are!) or who is going to win the upcoming Congressional elections or how well my boys perform on the soccer team. I do like and pay attention to all these things. Sometimes I have to refocus my priorities. But after 15 years in Children's Ministry I see what's at stake. The Barna poll in the graph says it all.