Baptist offers a full range of opportunities for children, from Bible study
to music and missions, to camps and special events. Children are a vital
part of our life, not only in the classroom but also as participants and
leaders in worship. Within
a nurturing and stimulating environment, we desire to help them create a
strong personal relationship with Jesus and to establish a firm foundation
for their spiritual growth through scripture, missions, prayer, worship
about God starts bright and early on Sunday morning, with Biblical classes
designed to help children understand the importance of God in their
lives no matter what their age. First Baptist is lucky to have some
dedicated individuals, from certified teachers to long-time volunteers,
willing to teach and share God's love with our children each week. Sunday
School is offered for children and youth from preschool to 12th grade.
We begin with prayer and songs during opening exercises on the third
floor, and then split into small groups to dig into God's Word.
care is available for infants and toddlers up to three years old during
the Sunday worship service. We have a staffed nursery each Sunday, and
parents are welcome to rejoin the congregation upstairs for the message.
Those nursing or unable to leave their small children can still listen
to the sermon, as a speaker in the room is connected with the Sanctuary.
Our nursery is located on the lower level next to the preschool room.
coming forward to listen to the Children's Story, kids 12 and under
head off to the "second hour" of their children's worship.
During the 45-minute adventure our preschool and elementary-aged children
embark on, they share in fun, Bible-oriented activities with games,
crafts and a snack. Teenagers assist the Second Hour helpers downst
or remain in church to listen to God's Word. Find out more about our
youth program here.The second hour rooms are
conveniently located downstairs next to the nursery, and we ask that
parents personally come pick up their children at the end of the church
service. Be prepared for them not to want to leave!
At First Baptist, we believe that for children, the best way to understand
God's Word is to be able to see, hear, smell, taste and touch it. To that
end, we seek to use as many visual aids as possible, whether it be smelling
frankincense to understand what exotic items the Three Wise Men brought
to baby Jesus or tasting a fig to understand what the ancient Hebrews treated
as a "dessert." Our exploration of the Bible also takes the form
of skits and musical performances that are small ways in which the stories
of the Bible literally "come to life" for children. These regular
presentations, from short songs celebrating Mother's Day to the large annual
Christmas play, are typically performed during the Children's Story for
the congregation. Often, older children who take either vocal or instrumental
lessons coordinate with our organist to perform a special piece of music
during the offertory. Our desire is to see children learn to worship God
through music and understand His Word with vivid portrayals from the Bible.
What better way to point kids towards God then through enjoying His creation?
Camp Carmel, a local Baptist-run summer camp in Dunbar, Pennsylvania, gets
kids outside, where there is no doubt about the awesome nature of our God.
While the campers are exploring all that He has given us they are guided
by solid Christian counselors, who demonstrate God's love for the children
through the relationships they build during the week. Camp Carmel focuses
on leading campers to a relationship with Christ or strengthening the relationship
they already have with Him, while participating in exciting activities like
rock climbing, hiking, swimming, kickball games and even waterfall jumping!
Open to kids from 1st through 12th grades, for 4th graders and older, camp
lasts one week, while 1st through 3rd graders have a short weekend stay
called "mini-camp." Our children hold a fundraiser during the
course of the year, ranging from spaghetti dinners to boxed lunches and
bake sales, to help them earn their way to camp.
At First Baptist, children learn the importance of sharing God's love and
how they can be involved in local and global missions efforts through hands-on
mission projects during the year. Our largest program is Operation Christmas
Child, an annual project founded by Samaritan's Purse that we start working
on in the fall. When our children go out and buy back-to-school supplies
for themselves, Children Education buy school supplies too, for needy children
in desperate situations around the world. These items, purchased through
donations from the congregation and local community, along with simple toys,
jewelry, candy and toiletries, are packed into plastic shoe boxes and delievered
to children around the world by Christmas. Since 1993, more than 61 million
shoe boxes have been packed, shipped, and delivered by Operation Christmas
Child. The children of First Baptist love being involved in this simple,
hands-on missions project, while learning to focus on the true meaning of
Christmas—Jesus Christ. Our chapter of Operation Christmas Child is named
in memory of Rachel Core, a teenager in our church.
Vacation Bible School, usually held every July, is one of the largest annual
outreach programs we host for children. For ages 3 through 5th grade, our
week-long VBS is an exciting rollercoaster of fun for everyone! Children
have the opportunity to explore various Biblical models each year and the
program features five truths for kids to learn. Arts and crafts, music,
worship, snacks, and physical activities along with Scripture-focused lessons
are offered in a loving and nurturing environment. Dates are announced in
the spring. Vacation Bible School is an excellent way to reinforce Biblical
concepts and to bring the message God's love to children.
With our active children's ministry, there is always something exciting
going on at First Baptist. We hold several special get-togethers for the
children and youth of the church during the course of the year. Sponsored
by the Board of Christian Education, these outings are opportunities not
only for the kids to play together, but also a chance for their parents
to form deeper relationships with each other. Every fall we have our annual
Hayride & Bonfire outing in the country on a church member's farm. For
the kids, getting to tour a real live dairy farm is an amazing chance to
see God's creation in action. Come winter, sledriding is the activity du
jour, with hot cocoa, a crackling fire and great fellowship to warm up with
afterwards. Then there are smaller playdates during the course of the year,
too. These gatherings are a perfect time for our youngest kids to have fun
in a Christian environment while their moms and dads talk about the struggles
and joys of parenthood together.