The Decades Old Dilemma
During this time of year parents in the body of Christ are at times filled with anger, confusion, and perplexity on how to react or not to react to the obsession with Halloween. In general, in seems as though each family has been left to make their own decision on this subject based upon their personal convictions and it has been ignored or left alone within the main walls of the corporate church.
For the most part, senior pastors have stopped addressing this subject and have left it to the children and youth ministers assuming that this is a “children’s issue” and not worth spending time addressing this with the parents during the main service. For some children leaders their answer to Halloween has simply been to ignore it and do nothing. But to the honor of many children ministers who have picked up the passed baton of addressing this dreadful day of the year they have tried their best to address Halloween, a holiday that can’t be ignored.
Many have fallen in line with the crowd and offered “Harvest Parties” or some form of alternative trick-or-treat night in hopes that the children of the church will participate in that instead and just maybe a few families from the community might come constituting it as an outreach. Whether we like the idea of Halloween or not we can’t ignore the fact that the fascination with it is seen everywhere and cannot be ignore no matter how much we would like to shelter our kids. Witches, ghosts, fake graves, and gory demonic faces are found in every store you go into and if your children are in public schools they are faced with the reality of this holiday all October long.
In fact, a public statistic ranked Halloween as a close second to Christmas as the most celebrated holiday in America. And although I believe God sees the heart of our efforts as we struggle to make the best out of a holiday that goes against everything we as Christians stand for, I feel that there is room for improvement in the church’s answer to the most demonic day of the year in this country. There’s a real need to shine your light on Halloween.
Let’s address the idea that Halloween is a “children’s issue.” Halloween is not simply whether or not we allow our youngsters to dress up and trick-or-treat; Halloween is a spiritual issue that is not subject to age, how you dress, or how much candy you collect on that night. The obsession this culture we live in has with Halloween is simply a manifestation of the dark spiritual battles that are raging in the hearts of every carnal man. It is the battle between the light of the Kingdom of Heaven and the evil of the kingdom of darkness. This battle affects every person in the body of Christ…young or old.
In Fact, I believe that Halloween’s dark demonic attractiveness allures more of our youth than it does our young children. Our youth may never dress up in costumes and shout out “trick-or-treat” as they walk around the neighborhood hoping for their favorite chocolate candy from a stranger, but they are inundated with the Halloween message in haunted houses, haunted parties, haunted television shows and movies, and an obsession with death and the underworld targeted for their age. The harming effects of Halloween on our youth is a far greater level than it ever affects our children, yet this message is rarely addressed to our youth in the body of Christ and often the message of silence shouts the message of approval.
Far too many parents in leadership have allowed their youth to follow the path with others by joining in the parties and festivities of this holiday. Sure we can tell ourselves that there is no harm in a haunted house, a youth party that celebrates with devil costumes and fake blood and death, but the fact is, what we see can hurt us. Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Matthew 6:22-23 (NKJV).
The body of Christ needs to start speaking and teaching the truth to our youth, allowing conviction and the difference between light and darkness to be clear. (See Guiding Kids Through the Spirit World.)Youth is the most influential time of a child’s life and on the most demonic day of the year, if our silence is saying it is okay to participate, what message are we sending? Satan has power that he is not afraid to use. Are we willing to gable the souls of our children in hopes that the fun and celebration of flirting with darkness one day of the year will not lure them into tasting it another?
Senior pastors need to stop ignoring the reality of this holiday and realize they have a responsibility to educate their congregation and especially parents during this time of year. Pastors have a responsibility to speak truth and allow the light of the word to bring correction to his/her congregation. In fact, the disciples made it clear what message our pastors and leaders are to speak, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6).
Do We Make an Exception One Time a Year?
Do we make an exception to this scripture once a year? The word says in Ephesians 4:27 that we are not to give place to the devil. Does this mean that we are not to participate in demonic motivated haunted houses and parties on Halloween? Absolutely! We know that according to the word we are living in the last days, our children and our children’s children can’t afford to dabble and flirt in any way with the devil and his underworld of darkness. It is time that pastors take on their role of teaching and exhorting parents to raise up the next generation and to allow no compromise in their life.
This role can only be successful if pastors, children’s pastors, and parents start raising their children to allow no room for compromise. I can’t tell you how many times a parent has come to me when I was an active children’s pastor and ask me what the senior pastor thought about the participation of this holiday. Parents are looking at their pastors to help them find the truth and walk in it. I challenge senior pastors specifically, but Christians in general, to speak up. Do not allow your silence to remain the answer of approval to the parents of your congregation.
Lastly, let’s consider how we answer the darkness by becoming carriers of light on this holiday. Years ago when I was placed in a position of ministering to children I had to decide how I was going to answer the issue of Halloween. As I prayed, I heard a clear word from the Lord. He said to me that the churches answer to Halloween has been to hide their light under a bushel and surrender this day of the year to the devil. We have either ignored it, given our approval with silence, or found ourselves hiding behind the four walls of the church, refusing to make a stand for truth. We have allowed Satan to have his day when everyday belongs to the Lord!
Turning Off the Porchlight
I have been guilty myself of turning off my porch light and keeping my house dark just to simply make our family invisible for that night. Prophetically speaking, we were to be the light in the darkness but instead we found ourselves consumed by darkness. The Lord spoke to me to create an opportunity where we, as the church, could engage in the battle to take this day and night back for Jesus! He gave me this scripture,
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
He then gave me a picture of houses all over the city that were lit up on the outside with bright white Christmas lights with banners for all to see that said “The light in the Darkness – Jesus Christ”. I saw people passing out little gifts to the trick-or-treat kids that had that same message on them along with free hot chocolate. Loud worship music was playing that drowned out any haunted music playing on the street.
As a church we endeavored to do what I saw in my vision from the Lord. We had sponsor families that volunteered their homes and light up their house and push back the darkness in their neighborhood. As a family we continue to do this each year and many other churches have since participated and I have heard nothing but great feedback. In fact, with my own house the neighborhood kids think we are the best house on the block to go to.
The Brightest Most Popular House on the Block
Although I find nothing wrong with the harvest parties at the church, and my own kids have participated in them, I feel as though we are hiding from the darkness and that the Lord wants us to use this holiday to take our light to the hillside and neighborhoods where the battle truly is. On that night we were the brightest and most popular house on the block with no darkness to be found, only the message of the cross and the light of Jesus shown through us.
Consider this idea for your family this Halloween. Let your light so shine to take back this night for Jesus and no longer surrender it to the kingdom of darkness. It is time that we, as the church, all step up to the plate and speak boldly against any participation in the affairs of the kingdom of darkness. Instead we must become the light that dispels the darkness