FBC Macon

Nurture. Love. Serve. ALL.

We’re proud of our Baptist history and heritage, but we’re also proud of our diversity. At First Baptist you will find a group of people coming from a variety of different church backgrounds and denominations who have found a home at the “top of Poplar.” And while our congregation comes from all over middle Georgia, we are a downtown church and see it is our mission to be the presence of Christ to our InTown and College Hill communities here in Macon.

Changes in Communication Rhythms

By now many of you may have noticed that you haven’t received the May edition of the monthly High-Lites—we know you anxiously await it the first Saturday of every month! Well, I hope it won’t disappoint you too much to learn that no May edition is forthcoming. In fact, the monthly High-Lites are going on an extended hiatus.

It was about three years ago that we adjusted out weekly and monthly communication rhythms here at the church, moving from a weekly mailed newsletter to a weekly email and monthly mailing. Several of you also continued to receive a weekly mailed version of the email.

This was all done in an effort to increase points of contact through the week by meeting folks more where they increasingly are, which is online, as well as provide space for more “story based” news in the monthly mailing. We’ve used that mailing to report back from retreats and mission trips, and tell stories about different ministries and happenings at the church. Recently, Susan Broome has interviewed different members as part of a series we called “I Am FBCX.”

There were many successes in this change in rhythm, especially with regard to the email, which is widely read and has proven an effective tool. But we’ve also realized we’ve lost some things as well.

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Connection

In their book, The Leading Causes of Life: Five Fundamentals to Change the Way You Live Your Life, Gary Gunderson and Larry Pray, argue that our culture is obsessed with death.

Gunderson and Pray both work within the Methodist hospital system in Memphis, helping healthcare providers seek a more holistic approach to care. The title of their book might suggest a kind of gushy “self-help” approach, but it is anything but.

Their premise is simple: too often in our approach to challenges, suffering, and trauma, we we focus on death and work backward. Instead we should focus on life and work forward. For instance, for centuries, western medicine has be rooted in the identifying and treating of disease, yet in recent times the focus has shifted toward creating an environment for health. “Life,” they insist, “has a language. If we are to find ourselves on this violent, troubled planet, we just learn the language of life. Then we can tune our ears to it, so that we can choose life instead of death.”

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Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, Holy, Holy. 

Not only was this our final hymn at Sunday’s dedication of the Joan Stockstill Godsey Organ, but it was also the overwhelming feeling in the room as we sang it. 

It was a beautiful evening of church we had together Sunday, honoring one of our most faithful and beloved members, and celebrating this instrument which will surely be the cornerstone of our worship at First Baptist for generations to come. It was also heartening to so see so many friends and neighbors from around the community among us. The fullness of the music emanating from the beautiful new pipes was matched only be the number of people in our pews (sans cushions!). 

As ever, we’re so grateful for Bryan Shelburne, who recorded Sunday’s dedication. Be on the lookout for that audio as it is made available.


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Baptist Month

While we celebrated Baptist Heritage Sunday back in February, April has felt more like Baptist History Month here at First Baptist.

This Wednesday, following our quarterly church conference, we’ll conclude our four-week study on Being Baptist. Rick Wilson has walked us through the first three weeks, and Buddy Shurden will wrap things up tomorrow with a discussion on Freedom of Religion.

Along with this study, this past Sunday after church we had a great group stick around for our Intro to FBCX class for new members and guests. A handful of our lay leaders shared about our church history, governance, and ministries, but our conversation tended to come back around to the particulars and sometime peculiarities of “being baptist.” 

We’ve noted this in different places recently, but we truly are in a new era of denominational life. Lines that were once rigid are now much more porous. Over the past two decades our church has responded to these larger cultural shifts by drawing on our long history of openness, and chosen to embrace an ecumenical spirit. 

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Resurrection by Candlelight

In his Easter sermon, “The Secret in the Dark,” Frederick Buechner notices how the gospel writers are surprisingly subdued in telling of Jesus’ resurrection. Here they are at the “most important part of the story,” he writes, and “they tell it in whispers.”

There are no explosions in the sky.

No first hand accounts of what, exactly, happened or didn’t happen in the tomb that morning. 

Did Jesus wake up as from sleep, as you and I do each morning?

Was he like one of my sons who rises at full speed and runs around the house waking everyone else up, starving and asking for cereal? Or was he like my other son who takes a few minutes (or even a few hours) to fully receive the day?

We don’t know “how” exactly the resurrection happened that morning. We are simply given various reports on what those who dared approach the tomb that morning found when they got there, and what they didn’t.

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This Too Must Be Part of the Story

Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not

keep that vigil, how they must have wept,

so utterly human, knowing this too

must be a part of the story.

-Mary Oliver, Gethsemane

 

On Sunday we entered into the final leg of our lenten journey, beginning our annual reenactment of the final week of Jesus’ life. We began worship with the waving of palms, heard Mark’s telling of Jesus’ march into Jerusalem, and meditated on the “script” of scripture. Jesus knew his Bible and his “triumphal entry” was in large part a reenactment of scenes from scripture announcing the One Who Comes In the Name of the Lord. The invitation, then, falls to us to find our role in God’s great frame of redemption.

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Being Baptist

I’ve been asked more than a few times over the last couple of years to offer a Wednesday night study on what it means to be Baptist.

Well, we pastors are eager to please (sometimes too much…more on that in a later post TBD…), so I’m excited to report we’ll be doing just that over the Wednesdays in April.

On April 4 we’ll begin a four-part study on “Being Baptist,” using our own Buddy Shurden’s classic little volume, The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms, as our guide. We’ll have a few copies of the book for purchase for $12 at the church office, or you can follow the link and find it on Amazon. Reading along in the book isn’t necessary but may help provide some context and will be well worth your time.

I’m also happy to announce we’ll have some prominent, local Baptist scholars to lead these studies (one of whom is intimately familiar with this book). Rick Wilson will guide us through the first three weeks, and Buddy will lead us the final week. 

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Children's Sunday and the Kingdom of God

It seems everyone I’ve talked to this week who was in worship on Sunday has been riding the same spiritual high. Myself included.

Children’s Sunday is always a special time of worship. Our children never fail to impress and inspire with their poise, gifts, and depth of spirit. This Sunday has become even more poignant for me these last few years when we’ve chosen to celebrate it during the season of Lent.

At first we tried to avoid this, thinking the somber tone of the season might not fit with the buoyancy of Children’s Sunday. But last year we just decided to lean into it. We celebrated Children’s Sunday on the First Sunday of Lent, and as the service progressed, it became clear we’d stumbled onto something profound.

Who better than children to lead us in the work of retuning our hearts, reorienting our lives, and reforming our imaginations, which in the end is the work of this season of preparation for Easter and the miracle and mystery of resurrection?

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WEEKLY SERVICES

Sunday
Sunday School at 9:45am
Morning Worship at 11:00am

Wednesday Evening
We begin with a meal at 5:30pm. Music and missions activities are available for adults, youth, and kids. Learn More

 

CONTACT US

511 High Place
Macon, GA 31201
Directions to FBCX

Telephone: 1.478.742.6485

Email: office@fbcxmacon.org


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