why didn’t we think of this sooner? (updated)

update: added link to our church’s web gallery to view more pictures at the end of the post.
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(as always if you’re reading this from the main page or rss feed you have to click on the “read more” link or the title to view the videos or pics)
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last night we had our “Halloween Community Pit-stop” at our church. basically we setup in the front lawn of the church from 5pm - 8 “ish”.

we had hot chocolate, hot cider, coffee. we opened up our bathrooms to be used. we had couches, tables and chairs set up for a quick rest. and good music playing in the background and we had LOTS of candy. and i mean GOOD candy. when we were promoting this we encouraged our congregation to bring in BIG candy bars. like full size. or at the very least the mini-candy bars. and none of the “cheap-o” candy like tootsie rolls or peppermints. we wanted the good stuff.

we wanted people to think this was a great place to come to and not walk away feeling “that church gave the cheap candies”. but more than the candy or hot drinks, the night was about showing “the face of Grandview Assembly”. we wanted people to know that there are actually people that go to that church that they may drive by or simply know by name.

as our familylife director (pastor) said in an email to our leadership team:
Its about that first initial relationship - that first impression - that we can establish with the community.  Who is Grandview A/G?  real people knowing a real God for real life.  Let's be real people tonight.

this was our first year, so we weren’t really sure how many people to expect, if they would stay long enough to talk, if we would have enough of our ‘church folk’ to keep things running, or if we even had enough candy. i kinda expected it would be a good evening because our location is pretty good. our church in a good neighborhood with lots of foot traffic coming by our church.

and oh boy! was it a success. it started off kinda slow, but once it got dark and the ‘trick-or-treaters’ were out, we were busy! we had several parents ask if we did this every year. to which we responded that it was our first, but we were planning on making it every year. and they were glad. (i know just with the open bathrooms we saved many a “goblin” from having an accident) :-)

on top of that it was the easiest (by far) “family” event to set up and tear down for. it was the easiest to get volunteers and keep running the whole evening. and it was the best attended community event we’ve ever done! we didn’t think through enough to have an official count of people that came through but i’m pretty sure it was over a hundred possibly two or three! and as maggie also mentioned it was the best event in terms of “parent contact” because all the parents were already with their kids. it wasn’t like a VBS where some of them would just drop off their kids and pick them up and we wouldn’t have direct contact.

the only main question now is: “why didn’t we think of this sooner?!”
for more pictures visit our church’s web gallery here.


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// today i'm thankful for:
1. halloween candy!
2. good neighbors
3. God’s mercy
4. comfy couches
5. not having any cats