History of the Great Banquet


decoloresTo become familiar with the Great Banquet, let's look first at the history of its counterparts; the Cursillo and the Walk to Emmaus. The Cursillo (3-day course in Christianity) began in Spain in the 1940s in the Catholic Church. It spread to the United States and evolved for Protestants into the Walk to Emmaus under the auspices of the Upper Room and the United Methodist Church. An Emmaus Movement was started by the First Presbyterian Church in Madisonville, Kentucky in 1982. After a 10-year history of the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, Rev. John E. Pitzer and lay people from First Presbyterian Church, formed the Great Banquet. Governed by an ecumenical board of directors and using the "Cursillo model", but with a different image, the Great Banquet continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship. The Great Banquet Movement is institutionally sponsored by local church groups in these areas. Lampstand Ministeries was formed as a covering corporation to move the Great Banquet Movement to other areas.


Purpose of the Great Banquet


The focus of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour and to make Him known. The objective of the Great Banquet is to continue the 3-day weekend by serving Christ in local churches, homes, and work places. To live a life of Grace and to respond to higher levels of Christian discipleship becomes the purpose of the Great Banquet.


Image of the Great Banquet

The Gospel of Luke presents the parable of the Great Banquet. Jesus tells of a master who prepared a great banquet and invited many guests saying 'Come, for everything is now ready.' After so many excuses for not attending by his invited guests, the master became angry and ordered his servants, 'Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'


After this had been done and still room remained, the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and the country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.' Then, as additional invitations were given, the banquet was presented to his guests. The result of the master's invitation was to feast at a banquet given by God. (Luke 14:15-24)


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