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It's about the Invitation

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So we’ve had a pretty incredible stretch of reach out events and possibilities this fall. Many of you threw Halloween parties in your neighborhoods. We had over 600 volunteers (many of whom don’t go to Eastern Hills) pack and deliver over 1200 meals for Mountains of Mercy. We are ice skating at Southlands this week, and even having Santa land in a helicopter for our Santa Fly-In event on Sunday afternoon. All of these events are awesome, they have impacted people around us, and they are a ton of fun. However, you know what makes them Reach Out events? It’s when we invite our friends and neighbors to experience them with us.

So here’s the question, are you inviting people? Are you meeting your neighbors, are you reaching out, or are you just hoping people show up?

This Christmas season is a great time for Reaching Out. Check out your weekend program over the next few weeks for ways that you can reach out in your neighborhood. It’s so fun to bake Christmas cookies and you can avoid the calories by giving them to your neighbors. Make up  some plates and bring them to your neighbors. Shovel their driveway, bring them a meal, go caroling, hang up some lights on their house if they don’t have any. (That last one might be going too far) Then invite them, invite them to Christmas Eve. Yes, it’s a risk, it might change your relationship, but it also might change their lives. People are more likely to go to church at Christmas than any other time of the year, so why not get out there and invite someone. Give them the opportunity to see that life with Jesus is better.

Reaching Out at Halloween

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Have you ever had a bad day, a bad week, or even longer. I had a bad September. It started with a vacation to Cabo where we experienced Tropical Storm Linda and had multiple days with no electricity and no running water. We returned home to a death in our family and then multiple family members being hospitalized for all different reasons. We experienced late nights... overnights in hospitals ...needing to leave our kids... needing a meal and more. Yet, in the middle of all of what we were going through, we were surrounded by people helping, extended family people, friends people, people from church, it was such a blessing.

One night as I was in the waiting room of the hospital, I saw a dad who had brought his wife into the hospital and had to bring 2 little kids with him. It was late and he was trying to help them sleep on chairs in the waiting room. It made me realize he had no people to call to come watch his kids while he took care of his wife.

What would it be like to have no one around to help out. No people to offer a meal, no people to watch your kids, no people to take in your mail, no people to feed your dog. I think a lot of the world has no people.

Reaching out to our neighbors and those around us... we get to be their people. But how do you start?

Halloween.

Halloween? Yes.  More people potentially come to your house on Halloween than the rest of the year combined. You can totally take advantage of this opportunity to get to know your neighbors and the people around you. Here are 3 levels at which you can throw a “Halloween Party”

  1. Turn on your front light, buy some candy, and hand out candy when people ring your doorbell.
  2. All of the above, but buy full size candy bars (you’ll be the hero of the neighborhood), wear a costume, introduce yourself to everyone, and find out if they live right near you.
  3. Set up a Halloween experience in your driveway. Build a fire, setup chairs, make s'mores, serve hot chocolate, give away big candy bars, build a haunted house in your garage, bob for apples, wear a costume, anything else you can think of the sky’s the limit.

Most of all have fun, meet your neighbors and begin to build relationships with them, letting them know that if they need something you can be their people.