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