By Charessa Koontz
We have a special guest this month. Charessa Koontz, a long-time customer of CTA, shares her insights on reaching the families in your community during the fall.
After twenty years in youth and family ministries, I know it can be daunting to bring new energy to yearly events such as Christmas, Easter, fall festival, and back-to-school. However, these are the times that Christian families are doing what we hope for them to be doing—coming together! These holidays are built-in opportunities for people to talk with others in the community about what’s going on at their church.
So how do we help families share the Gospel with others during the fall?
In past years at churches where I’ve served, the staff and children’s ministry leaders have created packets of fall goodies and resources from CTA for our families to hand out with candy on Halloween night at their homes. One year, our goal was to reach over five hundred families outside of our church with the Gospel, and our church was up for the challenge. That year, one family had the opportunity to distribute over two hundred Gospel resources alongside candy—just one family! Imagine the impact if your church had one hundred or even ten families join in this adventure. The possible sphere of influence is enormous.
Some years we have budgeted ministry dollars towards this endeavor, and I encourage you to do the same—it is worth the cost. However, I have seen the greatest joy when families put some skin in the game. When people are paying for their own packets, they will be more intentional about the challenge of reaching their neighbors with the Gospel. Many years, we have sold these packets to our families at a reduced cost. When some families could not afford to buy as many packets as others, families would step up and buy their packets for them. I’ve seen small group leaders buy packets for everyone in the group, encouraging others to take up the challenge of getting out the Gospel during the fall. This kind of generosity is inspiring! There’s never been a time where money was an obstacle for someone to participate in this outreach.
Not only can people pass out these resources with candy, but children can trade them with their neighbors as they receive candy. As a church, you can give out these resources to families in your community during a fall festival, trunk-or-treat event, or Halloween alternative. Handing out resources is very easy and fits naturally with trick-or-treating, but you never know what seeds will be planted or what conversations will arise as a result of handing these out.
Many parents thank me and my children’s ministry team for giving their kids something better to think about than candy. A fun challenge gets them thinking about how they can tell others about Christ, not how they can indulge their sweet tooth.
Nonetheless, what’s the real cost? What if we don’t partner with our families and challenge them to be “salt and light” in the world? For me, that is scarier than trying to figure what to do this fall season.
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