Light the Night is a way to impact your community on the night of trick-or-treating with the message that Jesus is the light and that the light overcomes darkness.

We’ve done it for years now in different communities and have found it to be the single most attended event by the community hands down. Where we might get 2 to 20 people from the community to attend an on-site dinner, concert, VBS, or children’s event, we connected with 400 to 500 people through Light the Night last year.

The idea is to have one or more homes in the community host the event. It is critical that you do not have it on church property.

You put up a welcoming banner (preferably the same one is used by all the homes hosting no matter what church affiliation) and literally flood the home with light – bank lights, spot lights, Christmas light, every light object you can gather – and invite people on a night dedicated to evil and darkness to experience the light.

You have games (with candy or tickets for prizes), puppet shows (giving the message of the night), free food (cotton candy, hot dogs, popcorn, etc.), music, drawings, and gift bags with information about who is hosting the event.

The two great things for our churches have been that it is something that can pull in every person in the congregation to help with and that it meets people where they live – literally. We saw a lot of community building as parents stood around visiting with neighbors they may have never spoken to before while the kids ran around playing games. It has not been unusual to see parents literally dragging kids away to “finish trick-or-treating” only to return a few minutes later because kids knew a good thing when they saw it!

For ours, we put people into ministry teams: set up and tear down service team, evangelism team (they handed out the gift bags and were charged with simply talking to parents), intercession team (who prayed over the neighborhood and event site), administration/children’s team (who ran the games), administration/planning team and food service team.

A church in State College, PA, started Light the Night seven or eight years ago. The vision for it is to get all the churches in your community doing it to have the greatest impact. It’s one thing to know people go to church, it’s another to see home after home in your city proclaiming the message of Jesus.

Lisa G. Yoder & Gary D. Yoder
Grandview Church of the Brethren
S/C Indiana District