With the World Series complete, baseball has been on my mind.
As part of the game, pitchers employ the set-up pitch. First, they hurl one toward the batter on the inside corner of the plate. Next, a second pitch rips across the outside corner of the plate away from a batter's reach.
In combination, the two pitches often deliver the sought-after third strike.
You ask, what in the world does baseball have to do with Halloween? Maybe more than you might think.
Think Seasonally? View Halloween as Just the Start
The American calendar presents a trilogy of "holidays" with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the heels of Halloween.
Like an effective pitcher using two tosses to achieve his goal, these seasons - if viewed in concert with one another - offer great potential to increase one's evangelistic effectiveness.
- Halloween: The perfect set-up "pitch" for helping to prepare hearts to hear and receive the message of Christ.
- This is an ideal time to meet your neighbors. Choose an idea for Halloween that will help you grow rapport with them.
Seek to start or grow relationships. Meet people. Gather names. Mix with non-believers. Learn where they live. In the weeks that follow, walk your neighborhood and pray for opportunities to get to know them more and for their receptivity to the Gospel.
- Around Thanksgiving: Is it time to deliver the winning pitch? Maybe. Maybe not. You will need to be discerning - Holy Spirit led.
- This can be a time of schedules full of family commitments, but consider added relationship-building opportunities that the holiday might afford.
- Ladies: Invite a friend to join you for shopping and lunch on the day of greatest bargains.
- Men: Take advantage of NCAA football "rivalry week" (November 28-29 features many great games) or a Sunday or Monday night NFL Game to host a small gathering of your Christian and newer non-Christian friends.
- Couples dessert: Host a small gathering of Christian and non-Christian neighbors for an informal time.
- Around Christmas: Are you yet to deliver the powerful second toss?
- There is no better time than Christmas to communicate the message of Christ. Choose from any number of opportunities to provide your unbelieving neighbors opportunities to rub shoulders with you and your Christian friends to hear faith stories and the Gospel.
- Host a Christmas Gathering: A relaxed, informal event in your home where someone might talk about their Christian faith or read the Christmas story and talk about how to have a relationship with Jesus.
- Host a Sunday afternoon "open house": Send mail invites: "save the date" and "no kidding: we really want you to come" 2-3 days before the event.
- Christmas cards: include a family photo; share your faith story; communicate the Gospel in any number of creative ways.
- Church Musical: Invite your unbelieving neighbors to a quality church musical.
The "two-pitch" set-up technique that pitchers employ is dependant on an ability to consistently achieve the goal of gaining the sought-after third strike.
Similarly, in using Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in concert with one another, keep before you the ultimate goal of actively participating in God's Great Commission -- communicating the Gospel in the timing and power of God's Holy Spirit as your winsome "pitch."