10 Years of Bringing a Church Family Together

March 11 3 Minute Read????

10 Years of Bringing a Church Family Together

Hello March 11th, 2024

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"Yes, God."

A memorable "Yes, God" moment for Christ's Church in Mason, Ohio, was saying yes to hosting Night to Shine for the first time 10 years ago.

Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs.  It is a night where the walls of isolation crumble as people get to hear about and celebrate their true identities as image-bearers and beloved children of God. Through Night to Shine, Christ's Church has been able to live out the Gospel by cultivating a welcoming community and serving people with disabilities.

Pastor Dale Reeves has been one of the pastors on staff at Christ's Church for over 10 years and has attended 9 Night to Shine events they have hosted. He loves seeing the authenticity of each person and the freedom they experience just being who they are, as God created them to be. They call him "Pastor of Fun," and he can usually be found dancing with the crowd in the middle of the party.​

"Night to Shine is like a taste of Heaven to me. We've got all ages and people from all walks of life.  It's just one of those nights that is so special; it is what the Church should be about," said Pastor Reeves, "it's a picture of Heaven...Night to Shine is just a preview of that. Seeing the joy in everybody's face, from caregivers to parents, to all our guests, our Kings and Queens, is so special for them and our church volunteers."    

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While they have faced challenges leading a consistent special needs ministry, their church has not backed down. Pastor Reeves shares that it's something that they've worked on, and the community knows they are committed to partnering with and serving people living with disabilities and will continue to host Night to Shine every year in Mason, Ohio.  

Drawn to the Church’s vision for their disability ministry and the mission of Night to Shine, members of the community, like Jenny Nunley, a Special Education Teacher, have stepped in and gotten involved. Jenny serves as part of the event’s planning committee and fully believes that "God is in the details." As a member of the planning committee, she has had the opportunity to speak to and invite hundreds of other volunteers from many walks of life to step outside their comfort zones to support this impactful ministry.

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"It doesn't matter your race, religion, or culture; everyone comes and that's cool. You have a lot of volunteers who have never been to a church, and they might not ever come for themselves, but they're willing to come for somebody else." said Nunley, "Night to Shine blesses the guests, the parents, and the caregivers. God moves through the whole evening through the whole process."  

By the grace of God, Christ's Church has been able to bridge the gap and connect with churchgoers and non-churchgoers. They reflect on the beauty of seeing the whole community come together, a diverse population of all age groups, with a common desire to serve and love people with special needs. 

Night to Shine has also opened the door to offering families a night of respite which has continued to build an atmosphere of trust knowing that their loved ones are cared for. Over the years, each person that has said "Yes" and "How can I help?" has contributed to creating a culture of looking to the best interest of others and bringing Faith, Hope and Love to the community of Mason, Ohio.    

Mark Highland, a volunteer at Night to Shine for almost six years, describes it beautifully: 

"For me, it's just being part of God's family, and He gives us the vision. You sit, you keep thinking of ways to help 'em grow in their faith and have fun with 'em. It's just a way of seeing God's love for us. It transforms when I stop thinking about myself and give myself to another. It helped me understand God's economy and how that works. It's a beautiful thing."  

Thoughts like these are just some of the ways we have seen God at work through Night to Shine impacting the lives of honored guests, staff, and volunteers.  A common thread that connects many of the stories and experiences is the belief that serving another person is a blessing.  "You go to volunteer to bless people with special needs, and you get blessed tenfold,” said Jenny Nunley. 

The opportunity to grow relationships with others draws them back to volunteer at Night to Shine year after year.

no logo D Featured Photo 1.jpgWhen they share how it has paved the way to show people God’s love in a different way than they usually do, their faces light up. “I think if you feel the call from God to be involved in Night to Shine, you definitely should because it is such a great experience," said Angelique, who serves as a volunteer buddy, "You get to lessen yourself and raise other people, and that's just such a good thing, it's a humbling experience for you. You get to make someone happy in the end."   

It has become so natural for members of Christ’s Church to get hooked by the joy of Night to Shine that the church lovingly refers to them as "lifers." "It's just the little things in life that make everything better. Getting to hang out with them one-on-one and sing and dance and getting to know them has impacted me," said Isabella, a NTS volunteer buddy who dreams of working in occupational therapy for people with special needs. Christ’s Church reflects a people whose generosity and hospitality have become a way of life. Their commitment to pursue God's heart and share His love with their community of people with special needs is inspiring.

"I see God's hand moving because He wants His creation to have community. This great event generates community for the participants and those volunteering. It just brings us all together. I know God loves that about his children coming together and having a community and always giving him the glory for it," said Gary, a NTS volunteer and 20-year member of Christ's Church.

While they cheer others on the red carpet, bust a few moves on the dance floor, and share a meal around the table, lifelong friendships and community are being cultivated at Christ’s Church.


"We're so blessed to have friendships and neighbors...these honored guests are chosen that night to feel His love, and it's their night to shine," said Peggy, a NTS volunteer.

This year, on the 10th anniversary of Night to Shine, Christ’s Church said “Yes” again, together with 720+ churches, answering God’s call to celebrate thousands of Kings and Queens worldwide. We pray for the impact that they've had over the last ten years to carry on through their community and beyond. 

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