I went to a great party Friday night.

Over one hundred people were there. We shared fantastic music, great food, wonderful conversation, and a beautiful message about God’s promises for His people.

Yes, the party was a worship service, our first Friday Family Festival. The event was created by the Outreach Committee, to extend the hospitality of our congregation to a greater portion of our community, especially those not able to join us on Sunday mornings. Tom Gerhold and Mark Tennyson crafted a dynamic program, featuring the Middle Schoolers from WLS and our adult Praise Team. Visiting pastor Jonathan Hemphill shared an inspiring message. Jack Watkinson, Jane Engler, Rita Tennyson, Colleen and Allan Fitzpatrick, and Scott Downie planned and set up the marvelous meal we all shared afterwards. Dozens of our young people served as ushers, readers, singers, and parking lot attendants. The attendees lingered in joy and fellowship, extending the blessing of the evening.

After the service, as I looked over the tables of laughing people, eating pizza and chatting with friends, old and new, I was struck by the realization that whenever we gather together to praise the Lord, it’s a party – a celebration of all He has done for us and all we can do for each other in His Name. We can celebrate in the sanctuary, no matter the day of the week. We can celebrate in our homes when we pause to give thanks for a meal and for each other. Wherever two or more gather in His Name, He is there, bringing love and grace to the celebration. The most important task for us, as His children, is to be welcoming in these celebrations, open to the work the Lord would have us do in sharing the Gospel with all.

Our next Friday Family Festival will be November 13 at 6 PM. Even if you celebrate with us every Sunday morning, we hope you will join the party on these Friday nights. Together, we can grow our community in service, worship, and celebration.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…”Hebrews 10:24-25