The Great Banquet

If you want to grow spiritually and learn more about your own journey through this life, The Great Banquet may be for you. During this 3-day experience we explore God's grace and the basics of Christian thinking in a worshipful setting of talks, discussion, prayer, singing, fellowship and fun.

Men and women attend separate banquets, which are scheduled each Spring and Fall. Each banquet lasts from Thursday evening through Sunday evening and takes place on-site at ZPC. Please fill out an application in advance as reservations are required.

Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance. Applications are accepted in the order received. Space is limited. You may be placed on a waiting list until the next space is available. Notifications of acceptance will be emailed in the form of an invitation. Please confirm or decline promptly when you receive your invitation.  

DATE:            December 23, 2020

Dear beloved Zionsville Great Banquet and Awakening Community,

Sending you a brief agape note of love to wish you a very Merry Christmas as we celebrate our dear Savior’s birth this week.  This verse from the classic Christmas Carol “O Holy Night” was written around 1847 by French Poet Placide Cappeau, but it couldn’t be more appropriate for 2020.  It has been a year of weariness for the world, but in every step of this exhausting year the reason for our hope, Jesus Christ our King, has been with us.  He is Immanuel, God with us.  Many of you have experienced significant suffering in this past year.  We lift you up and stand with you as brothers and sisters of Christ.  We pray for all of you, as you close out this year, to take some quiet time to reflect on His still, small voice.  We also pray that the very thought of His birth, His entry into our weary world, always brings you a jolt of joy.  That is the THRILL of hope in our lives. 

While it has been so sad to have had to pause our ministry this year, we feel a thrill of hope for 2021.  We trust in God that this is only a pause to our mission, and we cannot wait for God to create the circumstances to allow us to resume in full force.  When that will be, we still can’t say for certain.  The ZGB/A Board is meeting and assessing conditions regularly and will let you know as soon as we know. As many of you have experienced, the Banquet and Awakening can be an unexpected blessing.  We know there are many souls out there who still need this time with the Lord.  So, while we wait please be in prayerful consideration about whom God has put in your world that needs an invitation.  These invitations are what make the Great Banquets and Awakenings happen.

We also wanted to let you know that the Board is hard at work during this down time and is looking specifically at ways to improve our training and team materials, upgrade outdated technology and maintain strong connections with the community.  One thing to look for in the New Year is a new avenue to receive prayer support from the Great Banquet.  Details of this will be emailed to you in January and we thrill in anticipation of the blessings this will bring. Prayer brings peace.  Philippians 4: 6-7.

To close below is a YouTube link to one of our own, David Ackerman, singing “O Holy Night.”  David went through Great Banquet #70 and is husband to Pamela Ackerman from Great Banquet #69.  They have both been very active in our Banquets and have blessed many with their gift of music and words.  May this wonderful rendition bring you peace, joy, and thrills as you listen.

De Colores,

Clay and Karen Barnes
Zionsville Great Banquet and Awakening Executive Directors


Tentative Spring 2021 Weekends

Women's Great Banquet #134
March 18-21, 2021 




The Awakening

The Awakening is a similar opportunity available for high school students. It is designed for 9th-12th graders who want to grow spiritually and learn more about the journey of walking with Jesus. During this 3-day experience we explore God's grace and the basics of Christian thinking in a worshipful setting of singing, prayer, talks, discussion, fellowship and lots of fun! There is a boys Awakening and a girls Awakening every year in January or February.

Tentative 2022 Awakenings

Girl's Awakening #47
Date TBD
Boy's Awakening #48
Date TBD

Register for the Awakening

Volunteer to Serve

Great Banquet History & FAQs

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 room still remained, the master told his servants: “Go out to the roads and 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 and fellowship at a banquet given by God. (Luke 14:15-24)

The parable above provides a picture for the Great Banquet. The Banquet examines Christianity as a lifestyle and is an orderly, structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians. Through a combined effort of laity and clergy, the Great Banquet focuses on the renewal of the Church.

Great Banquet History

To 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 at the First Presbyterian Church in Madisonville, Kentucky in 1982. After a 10-year history of the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, the Great Banquet was formed. Governed by an ecumenical board of directors, the Great Banquet continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship.


Brian and Susan O'Dell  [317.873.6503 x 1098]

Q: How do I learn more about the Great Banquet?

A: Contact: 
Brian and Susan O'Dell
Zionsville Great Banquet
4775 West 116th Street
Zionsville, Indiana 46077
317.873.6503 ext. 1098

Q: What happens after the Great Banquet?

A: One of the most important parts of the Great Banquet is the follow-up. Although the Banquet lasts only three days, guests are invited to use its lessons for the rest of their lives. After attending the Great Banquet, they are challenged to:

  1. Strengthen their spiritual lives through study and active congregational participation.
  2. Strive to become active disciples of Jesus Christ in the world through their church.
To assist in this discipleship, the Great Banquet offers specific opportunities.
  1. Reunion groups meet weekly to examine goals of spiritual growth and to encourage one another to a life of discipleship.
  2. There will be opportunities to assist in future Great Banquet weekends through prayer, support, and team involvement.
  3. Guests are made aware of community needs through an e-newsletter of Great Banquet activities, both locally and regionally.

Q: What happens at a Great Banquet?

A: The Great Banquet is a 72-hour experience, beginning on Thursday evening and ending on Sunday evening. For three days, guests live and study together in a worshipful time of singing, prayer, and discussion. During each of fifteen talks given by laity and clergy, the theme of God’s grace is presented. Guests participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion and examine more fully the presence of Christ in his body of believers. They personally experience his grace through the prayers and acts of a loving, Christian support community.

Q: What is the purpose of the Great Banquet?

A: The focus of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior 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. The purpose of the Banquet is to live a life of grace and to respond to higher levels of Christian discipleship.

Q: Who should attend the Great Banquet?

A: This weekend experience is for anyone who:

  • wishes to strengthen his/her own spiritual life
  • wants to have a better understanding of prayer, baptism and communion, study, and Christian action
  • strives to live a Christian life that bears fruit for God
  • seeks to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to make him known