Welcome to the First Baptist Church youth page! We’re glad you’ve found us here. If you’re checking us out for the first time, we’d guess that you may have a few questions. Here’s our best guess as to what some of your questions might be!
Who Are You and What Do You Do?We’re also known at FBC as “ABY” (American Baptist Youth). We’re a fun group of 6th–12th graders and caring adult leaders who enjoy games and hanging out together. We’re a little rambunctious and crazy at times, but we’re also doing the important work of learning how to love God and our neighbors through study, prayer, worship, service, and fellowship. We’re trying to learn what it means to follow Christ in our lives in practical, everyday ways, and to open ourselves to the life-long process of having Christ change us for the better from the inside out.
Okay, Take Me To Your Leader.Right now the youth group has two youth spiritual formation interns and 3 lay leaders who love our youth and want to see them grow in Christ. We care about child safety: Everyone who works with children or youth at FBC must submit information for and pass a KBI background check.
So, When Do You Meet?Youth Sunday school meets on Sunday mornings, normally at 9:30 in the youth room located upstairs at the east end of the gym (a.k.a. Roger Williams Room). (Summer hours may vary—please check the church calendar.) There’s a middle school group and a high school group. Sunday school is a great opportunity for youth to deepen their faith in Christ through study and discussion with friends and adult leaders. Youth group meets on Sunday evenings during the school year. We gather for prayer at 5:20, then at 5:30 we have what we call “Chupper,” or “church supper,” a meal provided by parents. (Parents sign up for one or more meals at the beginning of each semester. Sometimes families team up for this.) At 6:00 we move into the sanctuary for Lumos, a time of reflection, worship, and prayer. What we do rotates each week. This is our time to focus and center before moving into our small groups. Then, we split up into small groups—two or three, depending on the week—from 6:20–7:25. During this time we learn together—sometimes we use DVDs, Bible study, discussion, art projects, or group conversations—and explore how our faith intersects and applies to our everyday lives. During the summer, although we don’t meet every week, we still get together sometimes! We’ve been known to do youth group lock-ins, game nights, or swim parties in the summertime.
We also have a great Wednesday night high school Bible study for youth in 9th-12th grade. After the regular Wednesday supper at church (supper is provided for children, youth, and adults alike at 6:00 p.m.), the youth meet at 6:30 in the youth room loft above the kitchen in the Roger Williams Room (gym) for a time of Bible study and reflection with some fun thrown in!
Do You Do Anything Cool?Absolutely! Here are some things we think are in the “Cool” category:
Local service opportunitiesL.I.N.K.: A couple of times a year, ABY takes a turn at taking care of FBC’s L.I.N.K. (Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen) responsibilities. The youth, with the help of leaders and parents, cook the casseroles, serve them at L.I.N.K., and clean up. Harvesters Mobile Food Pantry: FBC is a HMFP location on the 4th Saturday of each month, and the youth group helps with this a few times a year.
Youth tripsIn the summertime, the youth group takes a trip together. Every other year, we go to Quest at Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin. Other years, we’ll do a service or mission trip of some kind. In 2019, we did a work trip to Indiana. (And, spent a day at the Indy 500!) Trips are such a great way to put faith into action, and to form new friendships and strengthen existing ones. Youth and leaders always seem to come home with amazing stories of bonding experiences!
Mentor programWe think it’s really super important for youth to know that there are adults, people other than those in their immediate family, who care about their spiritual development, well-being, and general existence as human beings. At the beginning of the year, each youth has the opportunity to choose an adult from the FBC congregation as their mentor for that year. The youth group has mentor nights a few times each semester when the adult mentors attend youth group with their mentees, sometimes for fun, sometimes for study and discussion. Scavenger hunts are a popular activity! Mentors and youth sometimes choose to meet outside of youth group as well, perhaps for a coke and conversation, or a movie. Mentors may also choose to attend choir, band, or orchestra concerts, ball games, play performances, etc. in which their student is a participant. And sometimes, mentors give care packages at finals or celebrate birthdays. It’s all up to each mentor/mentee pair!
Sacred Music Academy
Youth who are in 6th-8th grade can play hand bells and sing on Wednesday nights from 6:30–7:30 p.m. during the school year with the FBC Sacred Music Academy (which also includes 3rd–5th graders as well). The name sounds like serious business—and they do put in a lot of work on learning the music—but it’s also a lot of fun! Sacred Music Academy performs a few times each semester. Directed by FBC organist Evelyn Falen.