When Tim Tebow first heard about a “Jesus Prom,” he thought it was a cool idea.
The Tim Tebow Foundation was about to turn five years old, and he wanted to do something special for the occasion. The executive director for his foundation knew about the “Jesus Prom” that was held each year for people with special needs to have their own night dedicated to them.
Tim has a unique desire to help and serve people who have “special needs,” and the idea fit his mission.
“I loved it,” Tim told me. “I said I wanted to do the event and have it everywhere – all over the country.”
Tim spent a lot of his early years in the Philippines where his parents were missionaries. There he saw the love his parents had for the people, and his heart was instilled with the importance of serving others.
He said that God’s salvation gave him the responsibility to give back and make a difference in lives.
When he was 15, Tim visited a remote third-world village where he met a boy who had been born with his feet backwards. Some thought of the boy as cursed, but Tim showed him the love of Christ and held him.
His passion to help others was born that day.
In 2010, his foundation was created.
Today, the Night to Shine is an evening dedicated to blessing thousands of people who have special needs.
“It’s such a part of our identity and our worth about understanding how much God loves us,” Tim said. “For us to be able to help this community to where the biggest event in their city and their town is for them to understand their worth. It’s not enough that they know that we love them, but the God of this universe loves them.”
In its first year, Night to Shine launched in 44 cites.
In 2019, more than 655 churches participated and helped to give more than 100,000 guests a Night to Shine with the help of more than 200,000 volunteers.
“After the first year, it just blew up, and it’s so cool,” Tim said. “It’s such a blessing, and we are grateful to all the churches that help to have an impact on lives. It’s my favorite night of the year, and I look forward to it so much. Right after it’s over, we start planning for next year. We gather input from all over and make necessary adjustments on how we can improve. “
For at least one night a year, each guest gets to wear a fancy dress or tuxedo and attend a prom event where they are made to feel like queens and kings for the evening. The ladies get their hair and makeup done just right, and the gentlemen even get their shoes shined. A dinner is held in their honor, and their entrance into the ballroom is announced with fanfare to the attendees, which includes their parents and caregivers who get to hang out and eat in their own special room which provides a respite from a difficult job for at least one evening of the year.
Angie and I volunteered last year and plan to return in two weeks to the annual event held at Christ Temple in Huntington, W.Va.
We were blessed to be a part of it, and we were amazed by the time and effort by the workers to help put special smiles on the faces of the attendees.
Do you take time to make the God of this universe feel special?
Would He smile if you gave Him your attention?
How would your spouse or best friend feel if you never paid attention to them? Or maybe you only stopped in to visit them two or three times a year. Would they feel important? Probably not.
If you have not made the Lord feel special, you can start today. It’s not as complicated as you might think. In fact, it’s simple. Here are some steps you can take each day to make sure God knows where He stands in your life. and to make His name shine.
· Take time to reach out: Set aside a few moments each day to honor Him and give Him thanks. Always appreciate His presence, even if you cannot feel Him at the time. Rest assured, He is always there.
· Send an invitation: When you receive an invitation to an event, you hopefully feel privileged and special. In your heart each day, send up a prayerful invite for the Lord to be with you. It only takes seconds, and He will tag along with you on your journey.
· Talk to Him: Thank Him for prayers answered, tell Him your needs or concerns, and ask for guidance. Don’t worry about how short or long your prayer takes. Just let Him know that you need Him in your life. And I say unto you, ask, and shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. – Luke 11: 9 KJV
· Listen: After you have thanked Him for His blessings and finished speaking, step back and listen to God and wait. Your answer might come within minutes or hours or a day or even months or years. Guests of Night to Shine look forward to their special night each year. Be patient and look forward to the answer. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. – Proverbs 1:5 KJV
· Praise Him: Everyone likes recognition. God created you, has provided for you and best of all, He has prepared a place for you to spend eternity with Him if you choose to follow Him. Thank Him and worship Him every day for this fact. O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. – Isaiah 25: 1 KJV
The Night to Shine is so massive that it takes thousands of volunteers and months to bring it all together to produce a magical night. You can have this experience with the Lord every day without the hoopla and excessive planning. Make the Master the one who is made to feel like the King of the universe.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church.