WHEN THE APOSTLE MATTHEW began to follow Christ, he was so enthusiastic he threw a big party, invited all his friends, and celebrated. Jesus and all the apostles attended and apparently had a great time (see Matthew 9:10). He was criticized for attending, eating, drinking—and with sinners! How scandalous! This was a great celebration that Matthew threw in honor of his newfound faith in the Messiah Jesus.
Two banner signs (3x6 feet): “It’s Party Time”
Folding tables for serving (depending on how many you will serve)
Coolers (several, depending on how many you will serve)
Burgers and hot dogs to grill
Other food and beverages
Game centers for children (for example, face painting, balloon animals, penny toss)
My church throws big parties in the spirit of what Matthew did. We fire up several barbeque grills and put on hot dogs and burgers. Multiple small groups provide desserts of all kinds. Kids’ games with prizes abound. Local professional athletes make a showing. We’ve even raffled off a donated car (we gave the tickets away the day before and the day of the event; the winner had to be present to collect the prize).
After a couple of hours, more prayer, conversation, laughs, and hugs have happened than anyone can count. The neighborhood feels touched and invested in. Group members are invited into neighborhood homes. We’ve had close to a thousand guests show up to one of these bashes. Not only are the people of the neighborhood encouraged, loved, and prayed for, but also the members of the multiple small groups who sponsor it are built up by seeing their combined energies make a big impression.
Steve Sjogren, 101 Ways to Reach Your Community (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014).