October 31st is “celebrated” differently campus-to-campus. Many schools may not see much activity that weekend or the night of Halloween. But other schools see quite a bit: Maybe ’tis the season when everybody seems to get drunk, or when the costumes come out (and not unto holiness), or when debauchery is otherwise at its worst.
Or it may just be a time of less-problematic celebrations, or even some community outreach by various student groups. Or students may simply be “ripe” for some pumpkin-carving or other autumn-ish activities, no matter who’s hosting.
But regardless of exactly how your campus or your students celebrate Halloween, this is a chance to think through two issues theologically. What’s very clear is that we’re erring if we act on expediency and opportunity without forming convictions first. So in light of Halloween approaching – whatever that happens to mean on your campus or in your city – here’s a chance for us to think some things through (if we haven’t already):
- First, we should make sure our own convictions about Halloween are settled. Obviously, this holiday is a tricky issue for Christians, and it’s understandably the subject of debate. For some, this history and occult connections are very problematic; for others, it’s seen as “just another holiday” devoted to getting people to buy stuff.
- Second (and more importantly), have you considered how your ministry should respond to the “party scene” at your school? Many college ministries offer free food to late-night partiers, for instance. Others may even offer free rides or other acts of service. But other Christians might be concerned this goes beyond service into facilitation, or they may be wary of positioning their students in the middle of some very real temptations. So their convictions might not let them get involved as directly.
Tomorrow, I’m going to offer some Frideas for ministries to use around Halloween, regardless of where you fall in your convictions. But today, I want to encourage us all to make sure we have, indeed, formed those convictions.
And wherever you land, I’ll have some ideas for impact tomorrow. (Click here for those.)