Author Bob Goff Brings a Message of Love to Good Friday Service
By: Roy Maynard
Bestselling author Bob Goff will bring a message of compassion, connection and love to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands for a unique and uplifting Good Friday service.
The Woodlands UMC has secured the Pavilion—the world’s second busiest and best-attended amphitheater, behind only Washington D.C.’s famous Wolf Trap—for a special service this year. Gates open at 5 p.m., with the worship service starting at 6 p.m. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is located at 2005 Lake Robbins Drive in The Woodlands. Good Friday is on April 19 this year.
“We’re very excited about this event,” said The Rev. Susan Kent, The Woodlands UMC’s Pastor of Worship and Women’s Ministry. “We’ve always tried to do something different for Good Friday services, to offer something special for our members and our community.”
It’s been several years since The Woodlands UMC has booked the amphitheater, she said, but it was time to do so again—and Goff was the right speaker to bring in.
“Even as we were planning this, God told us that people were going to need to hear a message of love,” she explained. “Everything that Bob Goff speaks about relates to love. He talks quite a bit about becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t found themselves in that situation.”
Goff’s focus is on sacrificial love.
“Bob Goff encourages us and reminds us of who we are supposed to be,” Rev. Kent said. “You know, you don’t have to be famous, you don’t have to be powerful—every one of us can show love. We can show it to the person across the street, and we can do great acts of love in our own lives.”
The Woodlands UMC will set up tents on the grounds of the Pavilion, in order to let its various ministries interact with those arriving for the Friday evening service.
“For example, our children’s ministry will have interactive tents, focused on children and families,” Rev. Kent said. “We’ll also have activities for people who are just part of the community and maybe have no idea who were are. Our missions ministry will have a tent, and so will our Woodlands Methodist School, for people who might be looking for a Christian school. And our prayer ministry will have a tent and be very active.”
The worship service will begin not unlike the Pavilion’s first weekend in 1990; there will be an orchestra and traditional choir, and some more contemporary elements from Woodlands Music, the church’s combined worship teams. And Lo Alaman, a Christian poet, will have a spoken-word presentation.
“Our goal is to bring all of this to a venue where people are comfortable, a place where they’re already used to attending concerts and events,” Rev. Kent explained. “And in this setting, we’re bringing a message of love. But it’s not just love—it’s more specific to Good Friday. Let us tell you about Jesus, and how He gave His life for you.”
The Woodlands UMC expects thousands to attend—there are even some billboards in the area to advertise the event.
“But we’re used to creating events and services of all sizes,” Rev. Kent said. “This is a big undertaking, and it’s all-hands-on-deck, but that’s who we are. We’re about putting our faith into action.”
For more information, visit The Woodlands UMC’s website at https://www.thewoodlandsumc.org/home.