Welcome to the First Baptist Church of Christ.
“Welcome” has become a contentious word in the church.
Perhaps it’s always been. Like the word “all,” it can mean different things to different people.
Used without care, it can lead to confusion and pain, or even worse, give cover to a posture that few would consider “welcoming.” Yet when time is taken to explore its depths and discern precisely what it means and what is at stake, “welcome” can be among the most powerful words we have at our disposal in the church.
We’re excited to have you as our guest!
Visiting a church for the first time can be nerve-wracking. You may have a few questions…
It’s in this deeper sense that I extend “welcome” to you from the First Baptist Church of Christ.
Welcome is something we take very seriously here. It’s something we’ve talked a lot about: the extent of it; who it includes and how. We’ve had conversations around tables about it. We’ve prayed about it and read scripture about it. We’ve even made decisions and crafted statements together about it. In August of 2017, our congregation voted to “support the full inclusion in the life of the church of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” We’ve made commitments that we continue to live into together.
And so I can tell you that the welcome I extend to you is not a formality, but comes with great care. It’s offered with humility and love. Whoever you are, wherever you have come from, however you have found yourself here, and wherever the Spirit may lead you once we depart, know that you are welcome in this place, fully and completely, without reservation. If you have ever felt unwelcome or excluded from church for any reason, I want you to know in particular you are welcome here.
And know as I say these things that the welcome I extend to you is not my own, our even of this church, but of Christ. As our peculiar title reminds us, this is Christ’s church and we are but stewards of it. We certainly don’t have all the answers yet as to where Christ will lead us and to whom, but we’ve committed ourselves to learning together all that these convictions demand of us.
But we could use some help. Your help. Better yet, we could use the Spirit of God moving through you, and we’re bold enough to wonder if you could use the Spirit of God moving through us. Or better still, we believe God might use us all together to reveal something of the Reign of God scripture tells us is breaking loose in the world even now. That is, to reveal what it means to be the church.
But for now, welcome.
Your First Visit
What to Expect
First and foremost, you can expect to be welcome here– and we mean it!
You bear the image of God precisely as you are, and FBCX strives to be a church that embraces that in everyone. You can click here to read more about our work on inclusion.
We’re excited to have you as our guest! Someone will be glad to point you in the right direction when you arrive, but you may be wondering what to expect from an unfamiliar church.
When We Gather
Sunday morning worship is the centerpoint of our time spent in community each week. We worship in our historic sanctuary Sunday mornings at 11:00am (and try to keep worship under an hour).
We also meet throughout the week. We offer Sunday school classes based not only on age, but also interest. Wednesday nights in the fall through spring we eat a meal together at 5:30pm before breaking out into different activities for children, youth, and adults.
Whenever you plan to visit, feel free to reach out to one of our pastors ahead of time so that we can be ready to welcome you and get you where you need to go.
Where To Go
The main parking lot for FBCX is located off of High Street next to St. Joseph’s School, and we have reserved guest parking there. There is also usually street parking available on High St as well as another parking lot behind St Joseph’s School (off of Washington Ave).
For worship, you may enter the sanctuary directly at the front of the church at the top of Poplar St. You may also enter the lobby of the Education Building, which is the building on the left when coming from our main parking lot. There you may follow signs to our nursery, Sunday school classes, or the Sanctuary, but there will also be someone there to greet you and point the way.
What It Will Be Like
We like to think of our worship style as “warmly liturgical” with an ecumenical spirit. We follow a traditional style of worship, including collective prayers, hymns sung from a hymnal, a choir, an organ, etc… that points us toward a communal experience. But our traditional style does not mean that you need to present yourself in a traditional way! You will see folks dressed along the spectrum from casual to formal, and you will see all sorts of family makeup. Come in whatever way feels most like “church” to you where you can worship comfortably.
When we say we welcome all, that is age-inclusive! Childcare is provided in our nursery off of the Education Building lobby for children up to 3 years old. Children above 3 are invited to the sanctuary for worship; we have a worship cart toward the front of the sanctuary with coloring pages and other activities as well as a special moment in worship just for kids. After that, children 3-years-old through Kindergarten have the chance to leave the sanctuary for WOW (Working On Worship), a worship experience designed for children to prepare them for staying in the main service. All of these are options, and if you feel more comfortable keeping your children with you, you may certainly do so!
Learn more about our children’s ministry here.
At First Baptist, we think membership is an important step toward authentic discipleship.
Membership at First Baptist is an act of the individual and the community. It involves an individual making a public commitment of his or her life to Christ and the church. But it also involves our church family committing to each other’s Christian care and nurture. Those seeking membership are asked to come forward during the singing of the final hymn or fill out a membership card and return in the offering plate for further conversation.