When our grill became a fire pit.

October 16, 2019 | Written by Rowland Smith

Last year, our family decided to make Halloween a little more intentional in terms of meeting our neighbors. After all, if you are a Christ-follower that desires to be a presence in your neighborhood, Halloween is the only time of the year when your neighbors actually come to you!

We began asking ourselves what might be a blessing to people and, at the same time, build some community.

a hand holding a spatula flipping burgers on grill
In the cold, our grill became a fire pit where people gathered.

Because of a large space in our driveway, directly in front of our house, we decided to pull the grill out, several chairs, a cooler and do a hot dog and hamburger cookout. After all, as families walked around the neighborhood, they might want a food break along the way!

We made 100 small flyers that we distributed to houses and mailboxes in our immediate neighborhood. We also posted the event on NEXTDOOR (an online neighborhood community site. You will want to be registered to the one in your area! Just look up Nextdoor in your web browser.) We purchased drinks, beer and wine, and a bunch of hot dogs and burgers. The setup looked amazing and was going to be really fun. We were excited…but would anyone come?

That morning, we woke up to a beautiful day, but quickly, as often happens in October in Colorado, a cold front moved in that afternoon. By 3:00, it was pretty chilly out and we began doubting if people would stop by because of the cold. It seemed that our big party would be a bust.

Still, at about 5:30, we fired up the grill and cooked some dogs and burgers for ourselves. As the night went on, others stopped by and hung out talking around the grill, and they weren’t leaving. What we quickly realized was that our grill had become a fire pit. The cold weather had created a community gathering place around the fire. Sure, it didn’t hurt that burgers and dogs were coming off of it, but the primary draw was the warmth, and now the friendship. What I thought was going to be the “tool”…food, had changed to the fire itself.

Halloween is right around the corner! It is a prime time to be intentional in your neighborhood. Consider a few ideas on how to spur community and introductions to new friends in your area:

  • Take your kids around the neighborhood to get candy, but ask yourself what can you also give your neighbors to bless them? (resist tracts, Bibles, or Christian swag…what would BLESS them?)
  • Set up a grill and feed people as they walk around the area. (Post it on Nextdoor) Who knows, maybe it will be cold again:)
  • When families come to your door, don’t just hand out candy. Ask their names, create conversation, get to know people.
  • Offer hot chocolate/coffee along with candy.
  • Plan a neighborhood potluck or dessert at your house in early November. Hand out invitations to people as they stop by your house for candy.

The list could be endless, so use your imagination! The point is to be intentional and use a holiday where neighbors are generally roaming in order to bring people together. Be the ambassador of the Kingdom in your place, your neighborhood, your apartment complex. Showing love to your neighbor is a piece of the gospel message and was one of Jesus’ primary instructions to us.

Pulpit Rock would love to help you pull off something missional in your neighborhood! Our greatest desire is that you take a display and taste of the kingdom into your context. If we can be of assistance, please let me know. We also have a grant/fund available for missional expressions. If you have a good idea, one-time or on-going, please contact me to see if you meet eligibility for funding of it.

We hope you have a Missional and Happy Halloween!


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