The Banquet, ‘Our Finest Hour’


With all do respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”

In the 1995 film, Apollo 13, three astronauts are about to re-enter earth’s atmosphere. The expedition has been exceptionally difficult with a variety of complications, failures, and mishaps.  As the story goes, their re-entry is likely their demise. In this scene, two NASA directors whisper about the ensuing tragedy:

“I know the problems, Henry. This could be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced!”

Flight Director, Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) picks up on their conversation and offers this iconic line: “I believe this will be our finest hour.”

In Young Life, we have alot of compelling moments-  A week at Camp, the 55 Minutes of organized chaos with a purpose- The YL Club, The most beautiful thing we do via Contact Work…. and the list goes on.  

What if our local Banquets were, in fact, our finest hour?

In the North Puget Sound Region in Washington state, we’re working alongside the Field Events team on a pilot project that offers resources to support local fundraising events. We recognize that most Areas have dreams and hope to create excellent banquets and other such events; and these efforts often can be improved or elevated with the right help.

There’s a huge variance across our mission in what defines a banquet. Your event is unique, and it should be! However, we consistently hear about people reaching out to others to recruit their expertise. If you want a great speaker you pay attention to where one might be and invite them to come speak. We do the same for auctioneers, MC’s, Program teams, graphic designers, and other spaces that you want the very best.

What if our very best resources were offered from a central point?

The Banquet Project is making the valiant effort to offer a menu where an Area can piece together all they need to see their dreams realized. Earlier articles in the 5 For Friday talk about the essentials of a banquet:  two goals of every banquet and three questions to ask after your banquet. Now, we’re asking what any Area could possibly need to reach those goals and answer those questions. The team is compiling this list and forming the access point for Area Staff. Most importantly this effort could change the banquet culture.  

What if we experienced our banquet the way we experience camp?

They each take an exorbitant amount of energy to setup, they peel us apart at times, we spare no expense to make them excellent, and it feels like a small miracle that it all happened. However, our camping effort ends with a full heart and great memories; it spurs our ministry forward and we share the story all year! Could our banquet end with the same enthusiasm? Could you imagine standing at the front end of your main fundraising event and knowing that the end result will be the definition of the following year in ministry?

Our hope is provide every resource necessary to make your banquet the finest hour in your ministry.  Talk to your Regional Director or Committee Chair if you have questions or input—especially if you’re doing something similar in your area—and contact our office directly by replying to this email for more information

Written By:  Blake Raney (