29 October 2010

Shine the Light

Our church does great things. It's one of many, many reasons why we love serving and worshiping there. Shine the Light is one of those great things. Instead of asking the community to come to our church on Beggar's Night, volunteer families offer their homes as Shine the Light locations at which they literally light up their little part of the neighborhood with bright lights while also sharing the light of Jesus with their neighbors and friends. It's a fantastic idea. I don't know why we didn't get involved with this before this year. We had a blast!

We have never been big trick-or-treaters at our house. We usually do fall festivals instead. The last two years, we allowed our kids to do a little door-to-door begging, but this year, Eric really wanted us to do Shine the Light, and we all agreed to give it a try. After spending the evening passing out cotton candy, popcorn, glow sticks, treat bags, balloons and prizes for the game we had while blasting some of our favorite kid-approved music (Pure NRG, VeggieTales), our kids announced that they want to host Shine the Light every year!!! I was proud of them for this decision. They could have complained about missing the door-to-door thing, but they didn't. They both embraced this ministry opportunity and had a great time doing so!

It was a blessing to meet new people and have the chance to visit with our neighbors. Several people asked us if there was a charge for the popcorn and cotton candy. Nope. It's all provided by the church. It most definitely blessed our neighbors. It opened doors that we've been trying to open since moving here with a couple of our neighbors. For that we are eternally grateful!

Next year, we'll do this much better now that we know what we're doing. I can't tell you how grateful we are to Mike and Becky and their very helpful daughter, Gabby, who volunteered to help us tonight and probably filled 75 bags of cotton candy with me. The Smiths also showed up and started helping immediately. Their unexpected help was not just appreciated; it was needed! The Stones were with us as things were wrapping up, and Jamie helped Eric finish cleaning up. This is not a one-family ministry, which makes it all the more fun!

If you are a ministry leader, I would recommend this outreach to every church out there. Every child who visited received information about our church, and we had a blast serving our neighbors in this way. I was left with sticky, cotton candy coated hair, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. On this night, the McEvoys really did shine the light, and we all can't wait to do it again next year!

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