Community Posts

3rd Annual Pumpkin Carving Party

Our small group hosted our 3rd annual pumpkin carving party to connect with new people. We invite our neighbors, friends, and coworkers with the entire goal to hang out so we can create and build new friendships. It was great to see a bunch of the neighborhood turn out as well as a ton of new people, and repeaters from the last two years as well!

Here are some of the photos of the night:

Michelle with our little pumpkin.

Feeding the pumpkin. He will probably look back on these pictures later and be very angry with me.

Laci modeling her slimy pumpkin hands.

Developing the next generation of pumpkin carvers. This is Melissa and Patrick’s son.

Pumpkin guts.

Surprisingly, this sign actually worked.

The effects of sugar on kids.

Hard at work.

Holli looks a little scary with that knife…

Of course there was food involved.

Pumpkins make people do crazy things. I have no words for this Sara.

The finished products.

UPDATE – The Matthew Party

Well, our experiment paid off and we all had a great time. While not everyone that we invited came, we did have a lot of people there (and a lot of my neighbors!). It was a great time to meet new people and to have a chance to sit down and talk further with people that we’ve never had the chance to talk with.

There were a lot of questions about our small group and about Third Format and we were able to make some great connections. I’m stoked to see what God will do with the seeds that were planted tonight. I would strongly recommend that other small groups try to do their own variation of a Matthew party.

And if you are wondering…I even carved a few pumpkins myself. Go figure.

The Matthew (Pumpkin) Party

Tonight my small group is trying something totally new. In fact, I have no idea how it will actually turn out. About a year ago, we read through Bill Hybels’ book, Just Walk Across the Room. It is a book on relational evangelism and one of the ideas that he presents is what he terms a “Matthew Party,” based off of Luke 5:27-32.

The idea is to take a group from the church (in this case our small group) and host a party focused on people who may not necessarily go to church or believe in God. The idea is to create meaningful friendships outside of the church walls and to focus on other people. My wife had the idea to twist it a bit and make it into a pumpkin carving party.

So tonight, in my driveway, we are hosting our first “Matthew (Pumpkin-Carving) Party.” We’ve invited a whole bunch of people, including all of my immediate neighbors. We’ll have a screen set up on the side and a projector playing the cheesiest old-school horror movie we can find. And we are going to have some fun. Michelle even found some Homestarrunner pumpkin designs! We aren’t going to preach to anybody and there is no pressure to do anything but have fun and get to know some new people, or get to know them better.

My prayer is that God would cause us to go into the “Zone of the Unknown,” (a term from the book referring to the area opposite of our comfort zone) and challenge us to talk with new people and to establish new friendships. My prayer is that we’ll be the Church tonight and that we’ll see God show up in cool and surprising ways. I’ll post an update tomorrow with how it went and hopefully some pictures. Here is a quote from the book that explains why things like tonight can be so valuable:

“The longer a person attends church, the fewer evangelistic discussions they engage in with family members and friends. Fewer presentations of the life-changing plan of salvation are given, and fewer invitations to events that attractively present the message of Christ are offered, mostly because Christ-followers have fewer friends outside the faith to whom to offer them.” – Bill Hybels

Bible Reading Plan

We put together a 90 day Bible Reading plan (spread out between 15 weeks) at for people to read through together. I want to extend the invitation to anyone who wants to read through this with us.

You can download it here.

Also, we created a Google group for people to discuss things as we go. Click here to check it out.

What is your Walkscore?

Thanks to my friend Steve, I’ve been exposed to a great website called It is a website that calculates your address based on what is within walking distance. It shows you where the closest coffee shops, restaurants, schools, parks, movie theaters and the like are. Your score is based on how many of these are available within reasonable walking distance from where you live.

This is very intriguing to me for many reasons. One, gas is ridiculously expensive. But more importantly, I would guess that the higher your home scores the more opportunity you have for community with others. People would be more likely to get out from behind their vehicles and would slow down enough to walk places. Sadly, my house scored a 28 out of 100. Walkscore determined that a car-dependent location.

So what if we factored this into where we chose to live? Could this change our view of community? Test it out yourself and share your walkscore as a comment on this post. I’d love to compare and see where everyone is on this scale.

I’m Sorry

My Mom saw this sign in downtown Phoenix recently and sent it to me. I think this is absolutely beautiful and it encourages me about the church.