We didn’t have Fall Festival both in 2017 and 2018. Last year was the first time in history of New Life we cancelled it due to rain and this year was the second time due to the same reason. It happened two years in a row back to back.
Why did it rain on both days? I don’t know. You don’t know. Only God knows. But I want us to approach Fall Festival with a renewed mindset going forward.
Fall Festival, along with Crawfish Boil and Late (Game) Night with (at) New Life, is one of the few events that we do as a whole church to reach out to our VIPs. Unlike the other two events, however, Fall Festival is special in that through the event we serve the community where our church is located. As you know, New Life is not a community church but a commuter church. Many of us drive 20 minutes or more to come to church which is not typical. Nevertheless, our church is standing on Fairbanks-N. Houston Road and it is located in 77040 zip code area. And I believe it is important that we do something to serve and bless the community where our church building is located even though we don’t live in the community.
We started to do Fall Festival about two or three years into our church history. The purpose was to provide a safe and fun place for our children as well as for the children from the community on Halloween with games, food and candy so that they will not go trick-or-treating which has a pagan origin. And for nearly twenty years, New Life has been serving the community very well through the event. In recent years, we often had more than 2,000 adults and children, not just from New Life, New Life members’ VIPs and the KSC, but from the community come and enjoy the event. All the parents from the community truly appreciated what we have been doing for many years for free of charge. I still remember parents questioning and commenting, “Is this all free?”, “Is there no admission fee?”, “You guys are making it better and better each year.” Parents were happy because they saw that their children were having a great time at our parking lot. And as we served our community, we experienced much joy from the Lord.
Unfortunately, I started to notice some negative tendency developing among us in the past few years. I heard remarks like, “Do we have to do this
on Halloween when it falls on a weekday?”, “Why can’t we do this on Saturday or Sunday when there is no traffic?”, “Does this really serve the community?”, “I want to take my kids to my neighborhood’s trick-or-treating”, “My house church doesn’t have any kids. Why, then, do we have to serve?” These are all very concerning comments and remarks to me.
Christians these days have differing opinions and convictions in regards to Halloween. Some say that we should not celebrate Halloween because it has a pagan origin. Others say that it can be redeemed for God’s kingdom purpose. For New Life, we would like to use it as an opportunity to serve the community by providing a safe and fun place for its parents and children as we ourselves also enjoy the event in order to display the love of Christ.
This is the reason why we insist in having Fall Festival on Halloween no matter which day of the week it falls on. However, when there is no desire to serve the community or be used by God for His purpose, then He will not choose and use us. He will look for those who yearn to be used by Him.
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chron. 16:9)
I know that there are some of you who want to do this on Saturday before Halloween for those children living in less fortunate communities. This is commendable if the motive is pure. But if you choose this because it is more convenient for you than coming out to church on a weekday, then I must exhort you to check your heart condition. Furthermore, doing Fall Festival in those communities is great. However, doing it in our church parking lot for the community that our church building is located in is absolutely essential because this is one great opportunity we have to serve our community.
Therefore, let’s not be indifferent or lackadaisical about Fall Festival. Instead, let’s pray fervently for the weather leading up to Fall Festival. Let’s pray earnestly for our hearts to change so that we will become true servants to our neighbors. And let’s pray desperately for adults and children from the community to come out and enjoy the event and experience the love of Christ through New Life!
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