IT. WAS. AMAZING. Here is a look at the venue before everybody arrived:
Circus themed, the decorations and activities were all very happy and colorful. An unbelievable 724 people attended this fun party, from brand new babies to the oldest of the old.
The folks that planned this party must certainly be
Here we see some of the pre-party activity:
I am told that the set up for this gala event took one entire afternoon. Workers started immediately following the Sunday morning services, and ended in time for the 5:30 PM start.
It takes a lot of barbecue chicken to feed 724 people, and the food serving crew knew how to move the buffet lines along smoothly and quickly. Our tasty meal included chicken, roasted red potatoes, corn, cole slaw, muffins, desserts, and drinks. Delicious!
Here are some of the chicken barbecuing crew, doing their craft:
The purpose of this event was to gather together to celebrate the life, growth, and ministry that has taken place in the last year, in and through this local body of believers, and to simply enjoy being together with family and friends. God is certainly changing lives, both in the local area and in other countries where church members have gone on short-term mission trips.
Statistics show that so many churches nowadays are in decline, both in membership and in changing of lives. This one, thankfully, is seeing growth in many of its various groups. During the program Pastor Arlie Davis shared the especially exciting growth in the children's, youth, and young adults ministries. Staff members and volunteer workers were given much deserved thanks and recognition for working hard and being faithful in using their talents and callings.
At numerous times throughout the meal and program, door prizes were given.
And there was fun entertainment, too. Here is the view of the colorful stage area, which hinted at a possible Barbershop Quartet appearance?
Yep, the group "According to Dad" (one of the pastors and his three sons) sang a traditional barbershop song.
This event was a delight for both big and little kids. There were hundreds of balloon creations,
popcorn machines with popcorn favors on every table,
and son Caleb enjoyed making cones of cotton candy for kids large and small. (Bad picture, but good fun!)
At the end of the evening, a video slowly scrolled a list of 470 names - people who had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ over the last year through the work of the Holy Spirit in this church. As each name was shown, a person lit a candle labeled with that name. At the end, the entire room was lit, and a prayer of thanks was given. To me, this was an emotional, moving moment. In my mind, this is really what it is all about.
From start to end, this was just a "feel good" event, and I can say that we are truly blessed.