Author: Gabe Knipp
All throughout scripture banquets represent celebration, abundance and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Lately though, within Young Life, the term ‘Banquet’ can make some Young Life staff break into a cold sweat. If that’s you, I hope this short article can give you a new perspective on what can be the best night of the year for your area. After all, what could be better than gathering a few hundred adults from your area, eating a meal together, laughing hard, and telling them about Jesus and what He is doing in the lives of kids? Time after time we hear adults proclaim after a banquet, “Could you have Old Life? That was amazing!”
With that positive experience in mind, there are three numbers that will help you accomplish that feeling as you look forward to your next banquet: 2, 12, and 15.
Every banquet has two aspects. The PEOPLE and the PROGRAM.
Most Staff and Committees are familiar with program. You know how to set up the room, tell that one story to communicate the heart, passion, and commitment of Young Life. The issue, more often, is getting people into the room.
The process of getting people in the room for the banquet is not much different than getting people in the room for club. It’s all about contact work. A club full of kids is a celebration of excellent contact work. A banquet full of adults is a celebration and natural extension of great contact work with adults. Just like a club flyer should not be a kid’s only invitation to club, the physical banquet invitation should not be the first time your guest has been invited to the banquet.
What if you pursued adults in your community like you do kids in the local school? What if you “sold” the banquet and planned for it months ahead of time? What if you were committed to helping people get there because it’s a chance to experience what God is doing and to be a part?
12 - Months
After a week at camp, you probably begin thinking about next year the next day (if not on the bus ride home). I’d be willing to bet camp crosses your mind almost every day of the year.
Banquets need to be the same. While camp can be the best week of a kids life, the banquet can be the best night of the year for your community. We should look forward to that night with great anticipation all year long.
The best banquets are done on with a 12-month strategy, just like camp.
A 12-month cycle means follow-up after the banquet is essential, like reviewing those commitment cards and actually sending people information about the golf marathon. Maybe there’s a banquet reminder in your Christmas letter, or you’ll casually mention the banquet next time you meet a donor.
15 - Minutes
Take 15 minutes today. You’ve read this article. Now watch the video below to get a better picture of this process. Next, write down “people” and three things you can do over the next three weeks to invite people to be part of what God is doing, which is always an invitation to fuller life. No matter how far away your next banquet is, the process starts today. Be excited.
And if you want to smile when you think about banquets, schedule time (not today) to think through the two aspects, People and Program, and what you can do each month to make your next banquet a no-sweat success.