The Christian church has always wrestled with how to engage with the culture that surrounds it. Halloween is a prime example.How does your church approach Halloween?. How might you approach next Monday?
In many ways, this is a cross-cultural moment. While there are many parts of Halloween that I (Alvin) don’t endorse, there are some redemptive elements in it. There are ways to engage the community without giving up one’s convictions.
David Livermore outlines the elements in effective Cultural Intelligence (CQ). Similar to going on an overseas mission experience, we must not assume that everything about a culture is automatically evil. If we go to another location, we start with an understanding that there are redemptive qualities in a culture and God is continuously redeeming a people.
On Monday, in our own neighbourhoods, we seek to engage with those immersed in this culture at large. Some youth ministries respond by hosting community events. Others participate in activities like “Trick or Treat for Hope” (an example from Sudbury, ON).
The early church didn’t withdraw and isolate itself. They seeked to engage the culture around them, so all people would come to know and follow Jesus. How people might approach Jesus will differ. The redemptive cultural elements will change. While we are not of the world, we live in it and thus we continue to share Christ in whatever ways possible.