It is said that love is a powerful thing and it’s true. But Valentine’s Day is not just a time to say “I love you.” It also can be a time when married couples within the church come together to celebrate their place in the framework of the Body of Christ. Godly marriages are an inspiration to those who either desire to be married or are just beginning their marriage journey. And it is the Godly marriages of the church that will be able to teach both natural and spiritual children about the importance of an “until death do us part” covenant relationship.
A great way to celebrate the love holiday is holding a Valentine’s fundraising banquet for the married couples within the church. With linens and candle centerpieces, soft instrumental music either by a live pianist or a CD, and a group of young people willing to volunteer their time, a fellowship hall or a chapel room can be easily converted into a beautiful and comfortable fine dining experience. It may take some time to plan and prepare. But it can be both a blessing and a reward for everyone involved.
The most important factor in putting together such an event is the seating arrangement. There needs to be ample room for everyone to feel comfortable, yet close enough for friendly fellowship among the couples. Unless the church has an abundance of tables and chairs available, it is better to set up long tables that can accommodate multiple place settings. Two-person tables are certainly more romantic, but they may not be practical for this kind of event if the space and tables are limited.
This kind of a dinner can either be open seating or pre-assigned seating depending on the number of people attending. If seating is pre-assigned, it should be done in such a way that each table is a mix of young marrieds and seasoned marrieds to encourage fellowship that spans the generations. If the plan is to have open seating, encourage couples to sit with people they don’t already know.
Because the dinner is to be a fundraiser, the food expense has to be less than the cost of the meal. The goal is to prepare a dinner that is pleasing to the eye yet easy on the budget for the couples. Sometimes married couples are willing to spend $30 or more a plate for a beautiful Valentine’s dinner. But if that same kind of wonderful dinner could be offered to couples for less, and the church is able to raise funds as a result of the incredible turn out, it is a win for everyone.
The meal should be elegant without being too expensive for the couples. In light of this, catered steak and lobster may not be the best choice. But the lady in the back row of the choir who has an Italian grandmother might know how to rustle up some authentic Italian lasagna. And with a team of helpers, several pans of lasagna can be put together for a reasonable cost. Or there’s the guy who helps to pass the offering plates every Sunday. His family comes from Arkansas and his wife knows how to cook a mean stuffed chicken breast. Others within the church may be able to offer ideas and recipes for side dishes and desserts. With little effort, a tempting menu can be put together that will appeal to every kind of personal taste.
The real secret to a successful Valentine’s dinner fundraiser is for it to be motivated by the desire to serve rather than to make money. If the dining room has a welcoming atmosphere, and there is a group of willing and friendly volunteers to be hosts and hostesses, and the food has been prepared by loving servants, the funds will take care of themselves.