This parable provides the picture of the Great Banquet. Like its counterparts, Cursillo, Emmaus, and Tres Dais, the 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 renewal of the church.
The Great Banquet is a 72 hour experience, beginning on Thursday evening and ending on Sunday evening. During this time, guests live and study together in a worshipful time of singing, prayer, sharing, and discussion. During each of the fifteen talks given by laity and clergy, the theme of God’s Grace is presented. Guests participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion and experience the grace of God through the presence of Christ in a loving, supportive, Christian community.
Although the weekend lasts only three days, guests are invited to use its lessons for the rest of their lives. After attending the Great Banquet, they are challenged to:
- Strengthen their own spiritual life though study and active congregational participation
- Strive to become active disciples of Jesus Christ in the world through their churches
Also after attending the Great Banquet, participants have the opportunity to join a reunion group. A reunion group is a smaller, more local group which meets weekly for support and sharing for the purpose of spiritual growth. Future Great Banquet weekends will also provide opportunities for the participant to assist by means of prayer, team involvement, and other forms of support. A periodic newsletter keeps the community in touch with relevant needs, dates, and locations of future Great Banquet weekends both locally and regionally.
The history of the Great Banquet movement begins with the Cursillo and the Walk to Emmaus. The Cursillo (3-day course in Christianity) began in Spain in the 1940’s in the Catholic Church. It spread to the United States and evolved for Protestants into the Walk to Emmaus under the auspices of the Upper Room and the United Methodist Church. An Emmaus Movement was started by the First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville, Kentucky, in 1982. After a ten year history of the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, the Great Banquet continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship. Institutionally sponsored by the Madisonville, Kentucky, First Presbyterian Church, this renewal weekend started in October 1991. Lampstand Ministries was created in 1992 to be the covering corporation to start Great Banquet Movements. The Great Banquet of Lafayette, Indiana, is an extension of this ministry.
The purpose of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and to make Him known. The Great Banquet is not a closed society, but a movement within Christianity. The Great Banquet does not provide a climate for resolution to deep seated problems, but is designed to help Christians mature in Christ. If your desire is to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you are invited to the Great Banquet.
If you are interested in learning more about the Great Banquet, please contact: