Tuscaloosa churches reach young girls through Princess Ball eventcomment (1)
March 14, 2013
By Grace Thornton and Julie Payne
If you know Jesus, you’re a princess.
This was the message sent to 61 little girls decked out in ball gowns, eating finger sandwiches off of fine china and drinking tea out of crystal cups at the Princess Ball of Forest Lake Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, Feb. 23.
The focus of the event “was to share with the girls the plan of salvation and our royal heritage when you become a child of God, a child of the King,” said Donna Cicero, who oversees the children’s ministry program of Circlewood Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa.
Circlewood and Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, were both invited to participate in Forest Lake’s Princess Ball, an event for girls in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“Girls often believe in fairy tales that don’t exist, and it crushes them when they grow up,” said Michael Allen, Forest Lake’s worship/children’s minister, whose wife, Yana, had the idea for the ball. “We want them to know that Jesus loves them and that if they are a child of the King, they are a true princess.”
During the Princess Ball, girls had their hair done by a local salon, their makeup done by makeup artists and their portraits made by a local photographer. They were all given tiaras, and they had a ballet lesson and a lesson in table etiquette.
A candy jar bar was available for the girls to make a bag full of what they wanted, and a big table of old jewelry boxes offered beaded necklaces and other jewelry so the girls could “add to their outfits,” Cicero said.
And men from all three churches — dressed in tuxedos — served the girls tea and sandwiches on fine china and crystal, addressing each one as “your royal highness.”
It made a real impression on the girls, said Michael Allen, who served as one of the hosts. Very few of the girls from Forest Lake were from families who attend church — many came as part of the church’s van ministry.
“They especially just need somebody to come around and love them and encourage them,” he said.
It was a good outreach opportunity, Cicero said.
“So many of them said, ‘This is the most fun party I’ve ever been to,’” she said.
Yana Allen said they knew the girls would enjoy dressing up — her own daughter had asked for a princess party for her last birthday, and she and her friends had loved it.
“I thought it would be a great idea for the church girls, and we could use it to tell the truth,” Yana Allen said. “The truth is that every girl is royalty when she becomes a child of God.”
Each table was decorated with the theme of a different princess — Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Cinderella and others — and speaker Emily Larson of Forest Lake used those themes to share the gospel.
“She did a phenomenal job. She went through the plan of salvation using those characters,” Cicero said.
Some examples, she said, were how Jesus washes us whiter than snow — like Snow White — and how He gives us His Word as a sword to carry with us, just as Princess Merida from the movie “Brave” carries a weapon with her always.
At the end of the day, 29 girls indicated they would like to know more about Jesus. The three churches are now following up with those girls, and at least one has already made a public decision to follow Christ at Forest Lake.
“We are so excited about what happened this year,” Michael Allen said. “It’s been an awesome event, and we are planning to do it again next year.”
For information about how to plan a Princess Ball, contact Michael Allen at 205-759-1569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.