Meeting in Las Vegas, or Sin City, doesn’t exactly sound like the best option for a faith-based event. But Cedric Williams, ministry development coordinator of Mountaintop Faith Ministries, says the city is the perfect setting for a spiritual gathering. “What better place to have ministries?” he asks rhetorically. “We try to set the example to let people know that coming to Las Vegas isn’t only about gambling.”
Because Mountaintop is based in Las Vegas, Williams knows well how it can serve its community. He says residents like himself hardly think about the famed Strip unless they are attending a conference there.
An annual women’s conference is one of many national events Mountaintop hosts. Its own large church, big enough for 4,500 members, hosts the meetings. Afterward, the host group encourages its attendees to get a taste of the city—within limits.
“There’s a lot to do without feeling you’ve been compromised,” says Williams. “Faith still plays a role in our attendees’ lives. It’s not like they drop it off at the airport.”
Working with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Mountaintop staff selects venues like Red Rock Lanes bowling alley for evening events. They also help coordinate group outings to the casino hotels to see shows or to eat at some of the city’s renowned restaurants. Zumba classes and shopping excursions are also popular, Williams says.
By now, selling Las Vegas to faith-based attendees is relatively easy for Williams and the ministry. The women’s conference has grown to 1,200 attendees from its humble beginnings. “Over time, the enigma of being in Las Vegas fades away to [the reason] why you are coming to Las Vegas,” he says. With various ministries within the group dedicated to different social needs—whether that’s working with prison inmates, the homeless or the ill—Mountaintop has the mentality that Las Vegas is a city in which it can do some of its best work. “Our slogan is ‘Once you’ve been to the Mountaintop, you never have to rain in the valley anymore,’” Williams adds.