Several thousand Christ-followers gathered in Columbus, Ohio on April 20th for an annual all-city worship experience called One Night Worship. The purpose of this gathering each year is to worship Jesus together as the Church of Columbus.
One Night Worship is a visible expression of the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17:21-24. And while this worship gathering only happens once a year, the relationships continue throughout the year among members of local churches across denominational, geographic, racial, cultural and generational boundaries.
There are no named sponsors or participants in One Night to keep the focus on Jesus. The gathering is held at a venue on the Ohio State Fairgrounds and there is no admission fee. It is more like a church meeting than a concert. The program follows the four-chapter Gospel of the creation, the fall, redemption through Christ and the restoration of all things.
There is a lot of wonderful worship music, a presentation of the Gospel and an invitation to receive Christ. There are altar prayer ministers and there is a time of small group prayer when we pray for the church and the pressing needs of the city.
This year, there were more than 500 volunteers working together to make everything come together on April 20th. These volunteers represent a significant portion of Gospel-centered church fellowships in central Ohio and we delight to see the cords of love strengthening as we serve together.
The first gathering for One Night Worship was in 2015 with worship pastors from a dozen churches getting together to form a band for the occasion. My husband and I were able to catch most of the first rehearsal and it was unforgettable. For a significant portion of the rehearsal, these musicians – each one a leader in their respective churches – stood facing one another in a circle and took turns teaching their song to the others. It was a beautiful picture of leadership and submission, strength and humility and of worship for Creator of every song. It was a beautiful picture of the church! Each year since then, the circle gets bigger as an increasing number of friends join the rehearsal and experience a foretaste of heaven.
One Night Worship is one of several prayer and worship initiatives that Pray for Columbus has helped facilitate to accelerate a gospel movement in central Ohio. In the fall, we will gather for the annual city-wide concert of prayer called One Night Prayer. In addition to these two annual gatherings, we also produce a monthly prayer guide and host a monthly time of prayer and worship. We also facilitate a monthly prayer call in support of an initiative called For Columbus Kids. The goal of For Columbus Kids is to see every school in our city with at least one church partner. I will write more about that effort in July.