Churches Can’t Trunk or Treat Their Way to Health

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I’m not a big fan of “The Facebook.” People tell me it’s a great way to stay connected with friends and family and far-off acquaintances. I tend to view it as unnecessary noise in my life.

Because of that, Emily, my wife, is my primary connection to any “news” on Facebook. Her primary ministry focus is young moms. Because of that, her news feed is filled right now with moms trying to find fall festivals and “Trunk or Treat” options for their kids. Emily shared that many young moms try to find as many of these opportunities as possible because the events often include free food, lots of candy and more entertainment for their kids.

Emily commented, “I wonder if these churches know that they’re going through a lot of effort for families who never intend to connect with their church?” (I love my wife for many reasons, but, I must say, I find her bold personality and bluntness very attractive.)

On my drive to the airport last week, I saw dozens of churches promoting fall festivals, pumpkin patches and Trunk or Treat events… you know, because churches aren’t allowed to “trick” or treat. Look it up. It’s in the rule book.

Push the Pause Button

If you are one of these churches, please don’t cancel your event this time around. But I beg you to push the pause button after this fall and ask yourself some questions:

  • If we were going to launch our church again, would this be the best use of our time and money in our effort to spread the Gospel?
  • Are we doing this because it’s the optimal way we can fulfill God’s mission for our church, or are we doing this because every other church is doing this?
  • Even if thousands show up, will this event really connect more people to the church, or might there be a better investment of time and resources to accomplish that objective?
  • Are we doing this because it really matters for the Kingdom impact we’re trying to make, or are we doing it because we’ve always done it?

Maybe your Trunk or Treat event is radically different than the hundreds of others I’ve seen churches engage. If so, I’d love to hear how you’ve pulled that off.

You Can’t “Event” Your Church to Health

If your experience is like countless other churches, though, my fear is that you’re trying to “event” your church to health. In other words, you don’t want to make the necessary changes to your worship services, discipleship path, outreach strategy and family ministry environments that would ultimately lead to church health.

You can’t do that because it involves hard work and change. People don’t like change. People like doing church like they’ve always done church. People (with money to give) will not like the change and may get upset and leave (with their money that they give).

So, since you won’t do that, do this instead. Add these events to your calendar and try to get as many people from your community as possible to attend:

  • Super Bowl Party
  • Valentine’s Day Daddy-Daughter Dance
  • Kite-Flying Day
  • Easter Egg Drop
  • Mom’s Day Out
  • Donuts for Dads
  • Summer Concert Series
  • Neighborhood Block Party
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Sports Camp
  • Softball Tournament
  • Fireworks on the Fourth
  • Art Show
  • Church Yard Sale
  • Pancakes and Pajamas
  • Pumpkinpalooza
  • Live Nativity at Christmas

Knock yourself out. That should keep you busy. When you’re done with that list, I have hundreds of more ideas like those that I’ve seen on actual church calendars.

When you do this, I recommend you label these “outreach” or “evangelism” events because that way you won’t have to develop an actual outreach or evangelism strategy. Also, don’t stop doing anything else. Just add this to your already busy ministry calendar. That will make people feel like they’re really sacrificing their time, talent and treasure for Jesus.

After you’ve added all those events to your calendar and gotten thousands of people from your community to attend, don’t be surprised if your church (and the people in it) are no different than before you started. Why?

Because I’ve never seen a church “event” themselves to health.

Trunk or treat anyone?


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About Author

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.

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