The MU women’s basketball team is used to collaborating on the court. But since their recent partnership with Central Bible Church and the Tim Tebow Foundation, the Lions are unifying to present Night to Shine, an unforgettable prom experience for people with special needs.
More than 100 churches around the world were chosen to simultaneously host Night to Shine events Friday, February 12, 2016. Central Bible was one of three churches in Oregon selected for the honor.
“This is so exciting because it’s such a unique chance to serve our community,” says Tim Bieri, who coaches women’s basketball at MU. “We’re honored to be part of shining Christ’s light in this way.”
As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation will provide each host church with an instruction manual, financial support, individualized staff guidance, and a prom kit complete with decorations and gifts for attendees.
On the big night, guests will enter the church on a red carpet while friendly paparazzi snap photos. Inside, volunteers will provide VIP treatment: hair, makeup and corsages for the girls, and shoe shining and boutonnieres for the boys. Karaoke and dancing will round out the evening. During the crowning ceremony, every attendee will be declared prom king or prom queen.
But something more than the glittery tiaras, shimmery dresses and spiffy shoes will shine on that night. God’s love will be gleaming, reflected by the many volunteers who have poured their hearts into this special event.
During Night to Shine 2015, 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 people with special needs. This year, host churches worldwide are expected to serve more than 20,000 prom kings and queens. At Central Bible Church, a minimum of 100 volunteers will work with more than 75 guests.
A production of this size will require some dedicated workers. Fortunately, the basketball team is no stranger to commitment. The Lions are wholly responsible for planning and organizing the event, which includes coordinating vendors, sending invitations and reminders, managing volunteers and donations, and setting up and tearing down decorations.
Even though their lives are brimming with basketball, school and jobs, the women are enthusiastic to tackle this new mission. “It’s a challenge for us as a team,” says sophomore Michaela Weller. “But it’s pushing us out of our comfort zone, and that’s important. It’s a blessing to be a part of God’s work in this.”
Valerie Wakefield agrees. “It’s a great opportunity to work with Central Bible and other churches in the area,” says the sophomore. “One of my favorite things is seeing so many people come together as the body of Christ.”
The Lions didn’t make it to the playoffs this year, so they’ve deemed Night to Shine their championship game. For Nicole Verrett, the prom is a more impactful opportunity in comparison. “It’s something that will last,” says the senior. “I think (the guests) will know that people care about them and want to serve them.”
If you want to volunteer for Night to Shine, contact Tim Bieri at 503.251.6463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.