Special Ministries - First Baptist Church Morganton

“Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 6:23

The motto of First Baptist Church Morganton is "Every Member a Minister." The church seeks to actively engage all members in ministry within both the congregation and the community. First Baptist Church provides programs and special ministries for all age groups - children, youth, young adults, adults, and senior adults. In addition, the church reaches out to families - young and old, singles, divorced persons, single parents, empty-nesters, widows and widowers. Ministry efforts seek to meet needs through on-going support, hands-on assistance, prayer, education, special programs, and fellowship. Members are encouraged to identify and use their God-given gifts to care for one another and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Deacon-led Ministry Teams

The Deacons of First Baptist Church are committed to being servant leaders and promoting the use of spiritual gifts in ministry to others. This commitment is realized through six gift-based ministry teams.

  • Church Fellowship Team
  • Evangelism Team
  • Bereavement Team
  • Church Membership Team
  • Response and Support Team
  • Homebound Spiritual Visitation Team

These teams are designed to match the needs of individual church members and people in the community with the spiritual gifts of those serving as team members. These teams complement and supplement, not replace, the many activities provided by the Ministers, Committees, Sunday School Classes, WMUM, and individual church members. While the active Deacons provide leadership for the teams, many other church members are actively involved in the ministry activities described below.

The Church Fellowship Team provides opportunities for all church members to discover and express their God-given gifts, share in the joys and celebrations of everyday life, and express faith in Christ in daily ministry to each other. This team develops and nurtures fellowship groups of church members and coordinates special fellowship opportunities for church members.

The Bereavement Team provides on-going spiritual and emotional support for individual church members and families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This Deacon-led team identifies appropriate persons and groups who maintain communication, offer on-going encouragement, and are available as needed for up to a year following a death.

The Response and Support Team ministers to church members through visitation and other means during times of short and long-term illnesses and hospitalizations. This Deacon-led team also is ready to mobilize resources to assist church members in times of crisis and emergencies.

The Evangelism Team coordinates evangelistic efforts throughout the community and promotes the adoption of lifestyle evangelism among the members of First Baptist Church.

The Church Membership Team works with the Ministers to identify and contact prospective members. They plan activities such as prospective member luncheons and offer a comprehensive new member orientation to help new members feel welcomed and to assist them to become active in the life of the church family.

The Homebound Spiritual Visitation Team visits with homebound members with a focus on spiritual needs and interests. They serve communion on a regular basis to those unable to participate during worship services.

Contact: Fred Schuszler, Minister of Education, 828/437-2544, ext. 14, fls999@hci.net

Caregiving Ministry

Senior adults may call upon the services of church members who volunteer to provide transportation and assistance to doctor visits and other important community appointments. Assistance is provided for senior adults through a Handiwork project that matches church members with special home repair and fix-it skills with senior adults who are no longer able to perform these types of tasks and who do not have family members near-by to assist them.

Contact: Fred Schuszler, Minister of Education, 828-437-2544, ext. 14, fls999@hci.net.

Grace Ridge

Church members volunteer to lead Sunday School and worship services at Grace Ridge, a local retirement community, where a number of church members reside. Members of First Baptist Church were instrumental in the development of these worship experiences and continue as speakers and musicians for residents who are unable to attend their local churches because of age, disability or other reasons.

Contact: Tom Bland, Senior Minister, 828/437-2544, ext. 12, tabland@hci.net.

Intercessory Prayer Ministry

A church prayer list is maintained and published in the Church Week newsletter and Wednesday Night Church News update. Those hospitalized or who have recently come home from the hospital and those who have lost a family member to death are listed. Others are listed as requested by members. Prayer request forms are available in the pews or members may call the church office to add a family member or friend to the list. The form gives the options of having the person listed on the general church list, or for church staff to pray for them during their weekly meeting, or for an intercessor to receive the information, or all three. Intercessors are volunteers who agree to include these prayer requests in their daily devotional time. If an intercessor is requested, the Prayer Leader immediately sends the form to an intercessor. At the end of the month, a list of those currently on the prayer list, along with all those who have been on the list that month are sent to intercessors. Also included in this mailing are staff prayer requests for the various ministries of the church.

Church Family Night

Wednesday evenings from September through May at First Baptist are times for fellowship, communication, and educational opportunities. Children’s choirs are meet during the late afternoon before the sharing of a delicious meal with friends and family. Following this time of table fellowship, children and youth have missions education, while adults select from a variety of different Center for Spiritual Formation courses. Church conferences, which provide interesting insights into church ministries and give opportunity for discussion of important church decisions by the church family, are scheduled regularly. Other adult programs include guest speakers or missions presentations. Sometimes all age groups join together for special activities, such as an annual “Sharing the Bread of Life” fellowship, a spring picnic, and the church family Christmas party.

Reservations for the Church Family Night meal are important. A special guest table is reserved for first-time guests who are treated to a free meal. The atmosphere during Church Family Night is casual, comfortable, and relaxed.

Contact: Fred Schuszler, Minister of Education, 828-437-2544, ext. 14, fls999@hci.net.

Click here for an informational brochure.


Preschool/Afterschool Programs

Our Preschool Program is full day and operates year round offering classes for six weeks through age four. When the demand permits, we offer a half day Preschool Program. Our half-day Program is for four year olds Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and operates from September through June. Please consult our Preschool Brochure for more information.

Our School Age Program offers afterschool, teacher work day care, and summer camp for children from Kindergarten through their sixth grade summer. The Program provides transportation from certain elementary and middle schools to First Baptist during the school year. The schools are selected based on registration requests, space on our buses, and logistics such as driving routes and times. Please consult our School Age Brochure for more information.

Click here for the Preschool/After school webpage.


First Baptist Church offers a professional, safe and Christian nursery for children birth through age three. The Nursery offers individual classrooms for infants, one year olds, two year olds and three year olds. Teachers are trained to offer age-appropriate learning and play experiences, to provide a safe and secure environment, and to make first experiences with church happy, positives ones.

Information about each child such as parents’ names, address, phone number, date of birth, and special instructions regarding feeding, interactions, allergies, etc. is kept on file for reference. Parents are given a security card and a pager when a child is left in the Nursery. Teachers ensure that children are safely returned to the appropriate person by allowing them only to leave with the person returning the card. The pager, which is set to vibrate rather than alarm, allows Nursery teachers to alert parents that they are needed in the Nursery.

Contact Person: Fred Schuszler, Minister of Education, 828/437-2544, ext. 14, fls999@hci.net

Scouting Program

Boy Scouts

First Baptist Church, whose first troop began in March 1931, has a long standing relationship with the scouting movement. Cub Scout and Boy Scout Programs provide boys with opportunities for Christian character growth and leadership development using fun and wholesome activities. Trained adult leaders take active roles in helping youth to learn the rules and lessons of scouting.

Cub Scout Pack 184 for boys from first through fifth grade meets several times monthly to participate in activities that include visits to the fire station, fingerprinting, learning knife safety through soap carving and knot tying. Cub Scouts achieve rank advancements from Tiger Cub to Webelos through completion of community service and activities that help the boys prepare to join Boy Scouts.

Boy Scout Troop 184 for boys from sixth grade through twelfth grade meets several times monthly. Boy Scouts participate in weekend camping trips, canoeing, and a week annually at Boy Scout Camp Bud Schiele near Morganton. Members of Troop 184 have also attended National Jamboree in Virginia and Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexico.

Contact: Fred Schuszler, Minister of Education, 828/437-2544, ext. 14, fls999@hci.net

Girl Scouts

First Baptist Church began sponsoring Girl Scout troops in 1994. Scouting programs help young girls develop leadership skills, values, social conscience, and conviction about their own self-worth that will serve them a lifetime. Girl Scout troops at First Baptist help girls discover the fun, fellowship, and power of girls together. A myriad of enriching experiences, including field trips, sports, camping, community service projects, and environmental awareness is offered.

The troops at First Baptist meet several times monthly during the school year. There are five age levels in Girl Scouting all of which are represented at First Baptist. These are: Daisy (5-6 years old), Brownie (6-8 years old), Junior (8-11 years old), Cadette (11-14 years old,) and Senior (14-17 years old). Girls also participate in local, state, and national camps and other special events. A special activity of Senior Troop 553 has been facilitation of the “Girl Scout Gold House – Women and Girls Build”, an all women built house completed in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Burke County.

Contact: Fred Schuszler, Minister of Education, 828/437-2544, ext. 14, fls999@hci.net

Food Services

First Baptist Church offers a comprehensive, high quality food service ministry providing over 33,000 meals yearly. Family Night dinner served each Wednesday evening during the school year is an enjoyable time of fellowship for church members and guests. In addition to Church Family Night dinners, special church events, and meals prepared for the Preschool/Afterschool Program, food service is available to many other groups and organizations in the community. With a wide variety of menu choices, meals for small and large groups can be provided for various events such as luncheons, banquets, dinners and receptions. The Food Service Ministry can accommodate groups as small as five or as large as three hundred people.

Contact: Suzette Pendleton, Chef/Food Service Director, 828/437-2544, ext. 18, cbsuzette@hci.net