“It’s About Love”: Church Reflects on 10 Years of Hosting Night to Shine

April 16 3 Minute Read????

“It’s About Love”: Church Reflects on 10 Years of Hosting Night to Shine

Hello April 16th, 2024

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Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany, Mississippi, is one of Night to Shine’s inaugural host churches. They have participated in the worldwide movement of Night to Shine, an unforgettable prom night experience centered on God's love for people with special needs, for 10 years now! 

At Night to Shine, honored guests see that they are loved and can enjoy the night and be celebrated for exactly who they are, as God made them. Since beginning to host Night to Shine, Hillcrest Baptist Church has seen a positive impact on their church family, helping them love and serve families with special needs. 

Michelle Armstrong, event coordinator for Night to Shine at Hillcrest Baptist Church, explains that many people living with special needs within their families find it difficult to attend church. “They seem to withdraw and stay at home and not worship and get involved with other people. And I think it's important for us as churches to show love to all people,” Michelle shared. “At Night to Shine they learn that we truly love them and we're here for them, and we want to serve them. But we also teach them about Jesus and what Jesus has done for us.”

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Heather Willard is a special education teacher who has volunteered at every Night to Shine with Hillcrest Baptist Church for the past 10 years. She recounted her experience, sharing how it is such a gift to be able to serve and bless these image-bearers in this way. 

“I feel like it's a great opportunity to be able to share the love of Christ. It's a night all about them. They get to be the honored guest. They get to be crowned; they get to be served. We get to cater to them all night long. It's all about them as the special guest,” Heather said. 

She shares how, in God’s abundant goodness, the volunteers often leave feeling blessed as well by the experience. 

“I feel like at the end of the day, we do it to be a blessing to the participants, but I go home, the one blessed. I feel like that the Lord just works it out and is able to bless us as we are trying to minister to others,” Heather said.

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The hope is that Hillcrest Baptist Church can be a place of refuge for individuals with special needs and their families, where they can come and worship, and experience the love of Jesus. 

“It's about love and love for everyone with special needs or disabilities around the world...we want these families to feel like this is their place of refuge,” Michelle said. 

The need for love and community for individuals with special needs around the globe is big! 

C Group 3.jpgAn estimated 1.3 billion people around the world are living with special needs. That's 1 out of every 6 people around the world who may have never heard that they matter, that they are loved, and that they are valued, worthy, royal, and precious Kings and Queens. 

At the Tim Tebow Foundation, our job isn't done until all are celebrated. It’s our goal to spread Night to Shine to every country, city, and church until all people living with special needs know their identity and worth as God’s royalty. 

Will you help us spread this worldwide movement to every corner of the globe? Learn more and refer your church to host Night to Shine 2025, here. 


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