By Janese Bennett
February 12, 2016, will be an unforgettable day for many who often feel forgotten and misunderstood.
In partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation, Bethel Life Worship Center in Greenville, Pennsylvania will serve as a host church for Night to Shine, an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs ages 16 and older. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation, “Every guest will enter this complimentary event on a red carpet, complete with a warm welcome from a cheering crowd and friendly paparazzi. Once inside, guests will receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining stations, corsages and boutonnieres, a karaoke room and, of course, dancing! The highlight of the night will come when every one of the Night to Shine guests is crowned as a king or queen of the prom.” (view full Press Release)
Night to Shine began on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2015 with 44 churches hosting proms. Within one year, the event has grown to include 200 churches in 48 states and 8 countries. Bethel Life Worship Center is planning to host 100 guests for this special prom night. With assistance from over 300 volunteers and donations from the community, their desire is for each guest to be treated as royalty and conclude the evening thinking, “Wow! That is the best thing I ever did!”
For Pastors Kent and Denise Bell, this night has personal significance. As parents of a child with special needs, the Bells understand the unique challenges families face. With estimates that 90% of families with special needs are unchurched, their desire is to provide a church environment where everyone feels loved and accepted. When guests with special needs arrive at Bethel Life for a worship service they are assigned an “angel” that accompanies them throughout the service to provide friendship, assistance, and support.
It is out of this heart to serve the felt needs of their community that Bethel Life began Loving Hands, a ministry that provides a respite service for families who have children with special physical, intellectual, behavioral or emotional needs. Once a month for three hours, parents are able to enjoy a night off while their children enjoy a time of crafts, games, and fun in a safe, loving environment.
Pastor Kent shares, “Jesus met people at their deepest need. We are called out from the church into the community.” Bethel Life’s ministry is not confined to the four walls of the church. Through ministries like Project Restore and Lyndsey’s Home, they are reaching out to those who have been caught in a world of human trafficking and slavery. With regular ministry to nursing homes and prisons, Bethel Life is showing Christ’s love to those who are hurting and broken. The love of Christ compels Pastors Kent and Denise, “We love them because Christ does.”
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this:
that one died for all; as a result all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)
Bethel Life Worship Center is an International Pentecostal Holiness Church exemplifying the IPHC vision to be “A Place of Hope. People of Promise.”