Christian Education at First Baptist Church Morganton
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:115
The mission of the Christian Education Ministry at First Baptist Church Morganton is to guide individuals toward faith in Christ, to teach the Biblical story, to impart Christian heritage, to encourage deeper spirituality in members, and to nurture this faith community in being the people of God. This mission is advanced through a strong Sunday School program for all ages, Center for Spiritual Formation courses, special programs such as Vacation Bible School, collaborative learning opportunities with near-by institutions of higher education, and a media-library of print and video resources.
First Baptist Church Morganton offers a comprehensive, Biblically-based Sunday School program for all age groups. The Sunday School program seeks to:
The Center for Spiritual Formation
The Center for Spiritual Formation was created to deepen spiritual formation through unique small group studies and large group events such as conferences and retreats. These learning experiences:
The intention of The Center for Spiritual Formation is summed up in an adaptation of the classical definition of theology, "Faith Seeking Understanding," to "Faith Energized By Understanding." Throughout the year, the Christian Education Committee offers a variety of courses in the following areas:
Leaders are carefully selected from gifted church members and staff, qualified local leaders from the community, and excellent teachers from institutions of higher learning in the area. Recent, popular courses have included: “Great Themes of the Bible,” “Living A Life of Love and Laughter,” “Hallelujah! The Bible and Handel’s Messiah,” “Bad Girls of the Bible,” “Parenting Teens,” “How to Find the Love of Your Life,” “A Wing & A Prayer for Lent,” “Network: Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts,” “Raising Drug Free Children,” “Baby Teachers: Nurturing Neural Networks,” “A Marriage for All Seasons,” “The Gospel According to ‘I Love Lucy’,” “The Book of Revelation.”
Vacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School is an annual Christian Education highlight of the summer. Children age 3 through rising 6th graders enjoy this five-evening event. The Christian Education ministry secures innovative materials from a variety of publishing sources. Vacation Bible School has a central theme (examples include “Under Construction,” “Kingdom of the Son Prayer Safari”). Creative Bible study is elaborated through Bible teaching games, recreation, crafts, cooking, drama, music and other age appropriate activities. One unique theme that is re-visited regularly is the “Jerusalem Marketplace.” This concept groups the children in “tribes” named after the Biblical patriarchs. They rotate through various learning centers modeled after activities or occupations during the time of Jesus. This and other Vacation Bible School experiences are delightful Bible-learning and memory-making opportunities for the children of First Baptist and community.
The Church Media-Library is stocked with over 2000 books, videos, periodicals and other media. These are maintained and updated as tools for church members to enhance their Biblical studies, spiritual gifts, discipleship, and ministries. The media-library is also designed to serve as an important source of devotional inspiration and wholesome Christian entertainment. The church media-library committee establishes specific times when they are available to assist with finding and checking out materials. At other times church staff may assist anyone who wishes to obtain materials.
The media-library accepts donations of books, but reserves the right to decide which books are acceptable. Monetary gifts given in honor or in memory are greatly appreciated. These provide the media-library committee and church staff the flexibility to select items most needed. The media-library also serves as an important conference area. Those who want to use the media-library for church committee meetings or other church functions are asked to reserve the space by contacting the Church’s Administrative Assistant.
Sunday School – Nursery, Preschool and Young Children
Nursery Department – Infants and children through three years of age are offered quality care and a beginning introduction to the love of God. Trained childcare providers under the leadership of Church members provide a safe, nurturing environment for these very young children.
Preschool Department – Children ages four and five are provided with creative, interactive activities that promote friendship-building, sharing, beginning Bible learning, and music. This class assists children in transitioning from the Nursery Department to the Morning Star Bible Adventures for older children.
Morning Star Bible Adventures – Children in grades one through five gather each Sunday morning in the Chapel for a Rise and Shine Assembly. Following assembly time, children are led by grade level groups to one of four creative learning centers which are related to the current Bible topic. Children visit these centers throughout the month as the teachers with the Creative Learning Team focus on a particular Bible story or passage. Children are all given their own New Adventure Bible, which they use every Sunday.
Youth Sunday School Classes – All youth gather for fellowship, announcements, and prayer each Sunday morning and then divide into grade specific groups (grades 6-8, grades 9-10, and grades 11-12) for Bible study. These classes are always lively and interactive. Bible study often takes place in the form of skits and role plays, artistic expression, creative activities, and small group discussions. Regardless of the form, the main objective is to bring Scripture to life in a meaningful way for middle and high school students.
Sunday School – Young Adults
The Young Adult Class is comprised of young adult men and women – some college students and some young professionals – between the ages of 19 and 35. Sunday morning studies in this class are designed to address the spiritual needs of young adults. Creative teaching techniques invite member discussion and personal reflection. Service projects and social gatherings give class members opportunities to encourage each other and to assist others within the church and community.
The Young Disciples Class consists of younger men and women, many of whom have young children. Teachers use prepared Sunday School and other special materials that address the specific life needs of class members. Open discussion and participation by all members are encouraged. Social gatherings and service activities strengthen the fellowship of this class.
Sunday School – Adults
Membership of The Center for Spiritual Formation Class is varied and fluid, with members from other classes joining temporarily to participate in particular studies. This class focuses on intensive Bible study, meeting 15 minutes earlier than the other adult classes in order to devote more time to discussion. In addition to Biblical texts, lessons are facilitated through selected study books rather than quarterly-type study materials.
Men and women, ages 40 and above, comprise the class membership for the Christians-In-Action Class. Weekly lessons are prepared and presented by teaching teams who rotate instructing responsibilities on a month to month basis. Teachers encourage open discussion and class participation. Class members, like those from other adult classes, are actively involved in service and mission activities in the Morganton area.
Circle of Friends Class actively participates in dynamic Bible study discussions each Sunday morning. The women of this class come from a variety of age stages. They support one another and also provide assistance to other individuals, families, and groups as needs arise. Members of this class volunteer with several local mission endeavors.
Ecumenical Class members are men and women, ages 30-something to 50-something. Sunday morning classes are designed to meet the spiritual and intellectual needs of adults dealing with a wide variety of life issues. Class leaders use Bible readings and prepared study materials to promote discussion and to facilitate understanding and practical application of Christian ideals in the daily lives of class members. Class fellowship and service to others are important aspects of this class.
New Covenant Class is a class is for adults ages 30-something and up. The class centers around Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. Lessons are developed by the teacher based on class input and interest and are designed to be interactive and multidimensional. Through class discussion, prayer, and fellowship the intent is to help members: develop a deeper understanding of God, a closer relationship with Him, and apply the lessons taught in the Bible to meet the challenges of life.
The Serendipity Class offers opportunities for Bible study, fellowship and service for men and women, ages 35 and above. Weekly lessons presented by teachers who rotate instructional responsibilities on a monthly basis encourage discussion and class participation. Teaching materials come from a variety of resources. Class members support many, diverse service and mission projects.
Women, ages 55 and older, comprise the Agape Class. Sunday morning Bible study is focused on helping class members grow in their Christian faith. Class members offer support to each other in all of life’s circumstances in an effort to model agape (Christ-like) love. Each woman in the class is part of a smaller group within the class giving members an opportunity to develop close ties with one another outside of the Sunday morning hour. Class members are active in a variety of different, mission projects throughout the year and enjoy fellowship with each through social gatherings.
The Bible Learners Class consists of women who are over 65 years of age, but all ages are welcomed. Teachers use a number of resources in addition to traditional Sunday School materials, encouraging class participation in an informal atmosphere. Members come together for social and business meetings throughout the year and participate in church projects and other benevolent activities.
Members of the Cauble Class are mostly retired women who remain active in the church and the community. Lessons in this class are characterized by open, lively discussions and activities designed to involve each member. The members of this class pray for and support one another as well numerous other community groups.
The members of the Dorcas Class are fun-loving and missions-minded senior adult women who enjoy Bible study, fellowship, and missions projects. The primary teaching method in this class is lecture with discussion encouraged and appreciated. Mindful of Dorcas in the New Testament, class members deliberately try to identify opportunities for service. This class enjoys participating in special church emphases and join together as a class for fellowship.
The members of the Ralph Hogshead Class are men between the ages of 60 and 75, who vary in their work and educational experiences but are alike in their high regard for the Word of God. This class attempts to delve deeply into the Scriptures, looking for applications to current issues and individual needs. Members support a number of community ministry activities.
The Huffman Class is comprised primarily of senior-aged men, but does have one woman member and encourages others to join. The main emphasis of the class’s weekly lesson is studying the Bible and relating God’s Word to contemporary life. Open discussion and participation are encouraged, but the teaching technique is mostly expository. A continuing mission activity is a substantial monthly contribution to the Good Samaritan Clinic in Morganton. Special class fellowships are held throughout the year.
The Koinonia Class is made up of men and women, ages 50 and older. This class is a warm and friendly class where members enjoy Christian fellowship together during regularly scheduled trips and outings. Weekly lessons are prepared by a teaching team who share responsibilities on a monthly basis or during a unit theme. The teaching format is usually lecture style, but the teachers encourage open discussion and class participation. Class members are actively involved in numerous service and mission activities.
Members of the Volunteers Class are men, ages 55 and older. Sunday School class discussions are focused on readings from Scripture with all members encouraged to participate in discussion. Class members support church and local community benevolence activities.
The Center for Spiritual Formation
Our logo illustrates our foundation and focus. The stylized Table Rock in the background stands for the "solid rock" upon which our faith is based. It evokes our rich heritage as a church in this community and reminds us of our continued commitment to "reach out" in ministry to this community in which God has placed us. It stands in the background, shadowing all we do, just as what we do in our time will influence, or fail to influence, generations yet to come. The Table Rock motif suggests our past - our indebtedness to, and "holy communion" with - those who have gone before. It calls us to remember the scripture, "Before the mountains were brought forth...from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." Psalm 90:2
A simplified facade of our church building is in the middle as a symbol of The Center for Spiritual Formation being church based and centered in Christian theology. The Center for Spiritual Formation has a vital mission to help us appreciate our history, strengthen our discipleship, invigorate our witness, deepen our spirituality, train our leaders, enrich our personalities and revitalize our marriages and families. The Center's course offerings are yet another means to draw people to our church through ministering to their needs and helping them cope with the challenges and questions of our lives. The centralized church is a picture of our gathering place, where small groups can claim Christ's promise that "where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
The tree is at the forefront of the logo as a fitting symbol of growth. The Bible is full of references to trees as standards of renewal and positive change. It speaks of the righteous, who meditate upon God's word, as being "like trees planted by streams of water, that yield fruit." The Bible closes with a beautiful picture of the New Jerusalem's tree of life, filled with fruit, vibrant with variety, providing fresh yields throughout all the season's, "and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:2 The tree in our logo suggests our hope that The Center for Spiritual Formation will continue to be used by God to provide healing, growth and renewal through Jesus Christ our Lord.