First Fruit Faith Stories
I have joined First Baptist Church three times: once as a child, once returning home from college, and once returning to Macon as a married mother. Let me tell you why my family belongs here. At First Baptist we have a gifted preacher who is possibly even more talented as a pastor. He has uncanny timing to reach you and touch you and speak the right words at the right time, both from the pulpit and in person. We have a music ministry that includes unparalleled talent and unquestionably good taste, that never fails to minister and stir and move.
We have children and youth ministers who make each young person feel like they are the most special child. They are the first at the hospital in an emergency to hold hands or deliver a book or babysit a child all day if the dad needs emergency surgery. But while they are jumping rope, or working in Jerusalem’s marketplace, or firmly telling a child to behave better, God is showing our children love through those two ministers (as well as through a myriad of Sunday school and Wednesday night teachers).
We have a beautiful stained-glass sanctuary where peace is possible and worship is probable. But, we have a newly renovated children’s area that is colorful and bright and attracts the children to learn and interact. Outside of those walls we try to reach others at various levels of need with food, clothing, Bibles, water, pencils, and even a van, just the way we believe Jesus would.
We are like Cheers, where everyone knows your name, your kids’ names, the concerns of your heart, and the joys of your soul. What we have at First Baptist is a family of friends who belong to God and to each other, and I am proud to be home again and to have our children in this church. We aren’t just members. We don’t just go here. We belong. That is why we walk the aisle every year and pledge to give our money, our time, and our very selves to First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon.
- A three-time First Baptist member
Are Churches Like Businesses?
Are churches like businesses? Are churches simply businesses with a different type of mission statement? …you know something like, “We’re not into profits. We’re into prophets.” Both businesses and churches have budgets and employees and power bills. Both have assets and liabilities and both manage their resources.
However, business ownership is different from church ownership; especially Baptist church ownership. Baptist church ownership gets pretty complicated. Let’s just say all our members are stockholders with all the rights and responsibilities therein. All are welcome to attend and become the beneficiaries.
In my view, we at First Baptist Church of Christ at Macon are the beneficiaries of investments made over the last 175 plus years. Churches and businesses do have similarities, but I believe they are quite different. First Baptist will continue to thrive with members who have received the benefits of those before us, and in turn invest in the future with generous hearts.
The ownership of this church is now in our hands. We are the caretakers, the managers of these assets. Just as Christ took the loaves and fishes to feed the thousands; we will use our pledges and offerings to fund our ministries for the coming year. It’s an investment with enormous returns. I’m proud to be a part of it.
- A First Baptist church member and small business owner
Covering All the Bases
When my children were young, I wanted the best for them. Like most Moms today, I tried to cover all the bases: good nutrition, good hygiene, school work, reading, music lessons, sports and church. I brought them to Sunday school, and children’s choir and GAs and RAs and VBS and sent them on youth trips and more.
My little ones loved coming to First Baptist. Sometimes they loved it so much that they didn’t want to leave when the activity was over. They learned about Jesus while singing and playing and making crafts with their friends.
But they learned something more. They learned that the adults at First Baptist loved them. And they were loved not just when they were sweet little darlings; but also when they were fussy or when they completely forgot their manners. From the time I first brought my children to our nursery, they were loved and blessed. That was, and is, a cherished gift given to my children and to me. We have an exceptional children’s ministry here at First Baptist. It’s a ministry that loves, teaches and blesses children. It’s a ministry that loves and supports parents too.
In today’s world, that is more important than ever. One of the reasons I support this church with my pledge is because of the gift given to my children. I want all the children of the church to be blessed the way my children were blessed for generations to come.
- A First Baptist Church member who’s a Mom
Faces Say So Much
I sing in the choir on Sunday mornings. I love practicing and singing and worshipping with this wonderful group. One of the benefits of being a choir member is I get to sit in the choir loft. If you don’t mind being a little hot sometimes; I think it’s the best seat in the house.
From the choir loft I can see all the faces of those in the congregation. I see the new faces of visitors and the familiar faces of members sitting in their familiar sections of the sanctuary. Faces say so much. I see the peaceful faces of those who are happy to be singing hymns with their church friends. I also can see worry. I can see gratitude. I can see exhaustion.
Sometimes my mind wanders (sorry Bob) and I think of all the stories that are going on in the lives of those faces. I think of their struggles and their faith and their triumphs. I see the faces of those who are constant encouragers. And I see faces of those who need encouragement. I see faces of those who have been God’s hands and feet to me when my family and I were struggling.
So why do I fill out that pledge card each year and support this family of faith and its ministries?
It is because of all the faces I see each Sunday morning. Oh, one more thing. From my seat in the choir loft I see the faces of the little ones bounding down to the front each Sunday for the children’s sermon. Yes, faces say so much.
- A First Baptist Chancel Choir member
Stepping Out in Faith
One of my former jobs was in outside sales. When I got the position I was pleased that my income would now be connected to my sales efforts and not limited to a given salary. I happily dove into the world of sales goals, monthly projections and commissions. Then came stewardship season at First Baptist. I picked up my pledge card and was puzzled.
How could I pledge a percentage of my income if I didn’t know what that would be? My income fluctuated each month depending on my commissions. I considered not making a pledge at all. After all, there was really no way of knowing for sure what my income would be for the coming year.
Finally I concluded that I would make a “projection” of my income for the coming year and make my pledge based on that. In 2009 we are all dealing with this recession. Many are dealing with furloughs and budget cuts.
Many of us are uncertain as to how much income we will have in 2010. You may be thinking of not pledging at all this time. But I encourage you to step out in faith and prayerfully make your pledge to the life and ministries of this church. The FBC police will not show up at your door if you find you can not live up to your pledge for 2010. Instead, FBC members are more likely to show up at your door offering you a helping hand. That’s just the kind of folks we are at First Baptist. That’s one of the reasons why I continue to support the ministries of this church.
- A First Baptist member for more than 20 years