To interest our members in missions, we have repackaged our annual missions banquet. Instead of having an all-church dinner in the basement, followed by a predictable program of singing, speakers, and slides in the sanctuary, we've taken our cues from the popular late-night talk shows.
As the congregation enters fellowship hall, they see the usual dinner table arrangement. But up front is an elevated platform furnished like a talk show set--a desk, guest couch, some plants, and a movie screen. A camera operator runs a video recorder on a tripod, and two television sets on either side of the platform serve as monitors.
Following the meal, the audience remains seated at tables for the missions program. A church member begins the program by welcoming everyone, telling a few missionary jokes, and introducing the pastor.
The pastor comes out, sits behind the desk, and enthusiastically announces the evening program. He then welcomes the first missionary. As they sit on the couch, the pastor conducts ...1