Starting on Thursday, Dale & I drove down to Grace Church in Roseville, MN, to attend a workshop by a friend, Steve Kissell. He talked about adding small things into your shows to make them more exciting, more fast-paced and more fun, especially for kids. It was great to see him again.
Then on Friday, I had the privilege of going back to Maple Grove Free Church for 2 shows during their Fall Frolic. It was the first time I had ever been in their new sanctuary, and what a beauty it is. I thought my first show, with "Homer", was going to be the best one, but with all of the people packed into the sanctuary for the 2nd one (the DonB! Variety Show) the house was rockin'! Everything was "on" during that show. All the jokes were funny, the kid volunteers were great, the energy level that I put out was 110%, and the message went really well. I even met up with some friends that I hadn't seen for a long time. I met Dale & Lynn Sorbel (7 years), Ingrid ??? (3 years, whom I used to work the State Fair at Dodge with) and Keith Newberry (25 years) and his family. These programs are becoming like little reunions for me. That's cool.
On Saturday, I walked stilts in Coon Rapids for an outdoor Halloween event for kids. My stilt friend, Dave Braddock, and I have been doing this event for 5 years now, and we already have it booked for next year too. Nothing so good as repeat business.
Then I drove down to Chanhassen, MN, where I set up the DonB! Variety Show again and performed for 500 kids and adults in the community center. As my show ended, I introduced Jonathan Bryce, a magician from Minnesota, that was trying to set a new world record by performing 24 escapes, in 24 hours in 24 different cities. He looked a little tired, but he managed to escape the chains that held him to a bed of nails. Weird, but exciting for him.
Sunday Dale & I drove up to Melrose, MN, and did an outreach program for St. Paul's Lutheran Church. They had games for the kids, treats for everyone and finished up the party with my show. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with about 275 community people in the show, and received some great feedback from the pastor afterwards.
Dale performed his newest unicycle trick: he free mounted his 4-foot giraffe without any assistance. Proud Papa moment. (If you'd like to see the first time he ever made the free mount, click HERE to watch it on YouTube.com)
On Wednesday, I drove over to Port Edwards, WI, to do a community outreach event in the local shopping mall Christian Life Fellowship. Games lined the hallways of the mall, and the stage was set-up directly in line with the hallway. So, when I started my programs (I did 3 of them), the music started and everybody's head turned to see what was happening. They then came and filled the seats up. The chairs were almost all full for all three programs.
My thoughts: I've heard and read many things about churches getting/not getting involved with the Halloween "season". Of the six events that I did, 4 of them were put together by churches. What I saw was the opportunity for each of these churches to reach out and "get in touch" with community members, most of whom would probably not step foot into a church building for any other event. Were the guests happy with the church's events? Absolutely. Kids were smiling, adults were talking to each other, and there was nothing anti-Christian about any of the events. I simply see this as the church taking advantage of the "season" to make connections with the families in their neighborhoods. After all, it was the invite of 2 of my friends that got me into a church that I first heard the Gospel in a way that I could respond personally to. Should October be any different than May or December for outreach? Hmmm...
Christmas is obviously the best time to tie in our Christian messages with the season, but it's not the only one we can take advantage of. We're not promoting the dark side of Halloween. We also don't have to try and make Halloween into a Christian holiday, but we can use it to reach people, make connections and share the Gospel.
I have a difficult time believing Christ would shun us from doing that. I would love to hear your comments on the subject. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Now, let us look forward to Thanksgiving. There is plenty to celebrate there.