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Great Banquet "curriculum"


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Great Banquet is an orderly, structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians. Through a combined effort of laity and clergy, the Great Banquet focuses on the renewal of the church.

The image of the Great Banquet comes from Luke 14:15-24. Jesus tells of a master who prepared a great banquet and invited many guests, saying "Come, for everything is now ready." Many had excuses and did not attend. Finally, many were brought who were poor, crippled, blind and lame. The result of the master's invitation was to feast and fellowship at a banquet given by God.

The Awakening is the youth version of the Great Banquet, designed for older(high school) youth who are seeking an awareness of each one's need to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and then begin to make Him Lord in all areas of life.

The image of the Awakening comes from I Samuel 3:1-10. One night as Samuel was lying down in the temple, the Lord calls, "Samuel! Samuel!" Samuel did not yet know the Lord so he did not recognize who was calling him. After the Lord calls Samuel three times, Samuel is instructed by Eli to respond with, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears."

The weekend is broken down into 3 days with 5 talks each day given by members of the team.

First day talks

1. Discovering Priorities

2. God's Gift of Grace

3. Ministry of All Believers

4. Our Response to Grace

5. The Way of Piety

Second day talks

6. The Truth Through Study

7. Sacramental Grace

8. The Life of Christian Action

9. Obstacles to God's Grace


3rd day talks

11. Changing Our Environment

12. From Faith to Life

13. The Body of Christ

14. Staying Power

15. Establishing Priorities

Each talk lasts from 20-45 minutes (depending upon the talk) with a time of reflection, discussion, and a group activity to solidify what was learned following each talk.

Team members chosen to do the talks are committed Christians who are active in a church environment. They are provided with an outline of what needs to be covered. How they do that is what makes each talk unique.

The lay directors are chosen by the pastors and they, in turn, choose their team. The pastors select 4 "spiritual directors" who are there to guide and intervene, if necessary.

Each table has a leader who is in charge of leading and guiding discussion. There are 5-8 members of a table. Each table has an assistant leader which participants don't know about as they are the ones who give a talk.

All team members are taught to be a "non-active presence". The whole weekend is geared towards God and Jesus, so team members are largely invisible to the participant. Participants see "servant leadership" in action in a big way.

Why do I recommend a weekend such as this? It rightly shows the difference between being a believer and being a disciple. While being a believer is by no means a "mere" thing, the leap between believer and disciple is substantial and I believe was misleading in The Way context of discipleship. So many of you have been hurt by how they did things and I believe a weekend like this is very healing.

The other thing the weekend does is put things in perspective. It helps you move on by taking the focus off you and on to serving the Lord.

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