Why would your church host a special needs prom?
Karen Veenstra is part of our staff team at Liquid Church. I asked her to reflect on an event we hosted a few weeks back called Night2Shine … a prom for adults with special needs. It was an amazing evening, one of those times where I was so proud of our church! Our special needs ministry has been growing over the last few years to the point where it has become a real strength of our community. We were able to take it to the next level with this event.
Check out Karen’s blog: KarenVeenstra.com
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Partnering with the Tim Tebow Foundation, Liquid Church’s Night2Shine event was a night I will not soon forget. Being on staff at Liquid for three years now, I’ve had the privilege to be part of some incredible events and moments in ministry. But on that Friday evening, I had an overwhelming sense that this was going to be the most amazing event I had ever been part of at Liquid, with one especially heart-melting moment to prove it.
Bruno Mars has some catchy songs. But none of them are catchier than “Just the Way You Are,” one of his most popular hits. I’ve belted out the words to this song day many times: in my car, with friends, in front of the mirror with a brush as a microphone … yes, that’s true. But singing this song has never been as significant or life changing as when I was dancing with a young man with special needs at Liquid’s Night2Shine prom. As I belted out the words to him and watched him react with smiles, joy and laughter, the command of Jesus to love your neighbor as yourself never felt more alive for me. Jesus calls us to love all others the way He loves us, and to serve faithfully the last and the lost. On that night, I had the chance to love those whom many call last, but Jesus calls first …
The last will be first … (Matthew 20:16)
The special needs prom was a night that allowed us to be the literal hands and feet of Jesus Christ. This event wasn’t even on our radar a year ago, but I truly believe it was on God’s from the beginning. Ever since Liquid began on the journey of creating a special needs ministry, He knew this night would come, giving us the gift of crowning these young men and women kings and queens for a night, the way Jesus already has for eternity.
As leaders in the church, we should always be looking for new ways to love others. We should always be giving ourselves. We should always be serving. Because as much as this world tries to tell us otherwise, Jesus was right. It is better to give than to receive. When we give, moments are made.
As I sang out the words — ‘cuz you’re amazing, just the way you are — to this young man, and as he danced and smiled and held my hands, I began to realize the significance of that moment. I realized that it wasn’t my moment at all. It was Jesus’ moment. And He offered me the honor of being part of it. The moment wasn’t changing this young man. It was changing me. One sung word at a time.