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FBC Gardendale hosts fun night for mothers, sonscomment (0)

February 20, 2003

By Cheryl Sloan Wray

The children’s ministry department at First Baptist Church, Gardendale, has a tradition of nurturing the relationships between parents and their children. Its annual Wild Game Feast and Dad/Daughter Banquet have always been popular gatherings for fathers and their children.

At a recent meeting, however, church staff members realized that an important person had been left out of these special events.

According to Donnie Rhodes, associate minister of children, they realized that mothers had no special time with their sons or daughters.

“We were kicking around some ideas and talking about areas of ministry that were not covered,” Rhodes said. “We realized our mothers volunteer for everything that we do and that we did not have something special for them. We had the Dad/Son activity and the Dad/ Daughter activity, and now we wanted to have a Mother/Son activity. We knew then what we had to do.”

The result? A special event called the Mother/Son Adventure, which was held for the first time in January and included special music, games and a special presentation by former University of Alabama football player and current Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander.

The night started off with a meal and a miniconcert by Johnny and DeAnna Cabiness, former members of the contemporary Christian music group Truth and now full-time worship leaders at First, Gardendale. This was followed by a talk by Alexander that focused on the importance of mothers in the lives of their sons.

“He spoke to the mothers and sons about the treasure that his mother imparted to him not only through her family but through her love of Christ,” Rhodes said. “And after Shaun spoke, there was a special autograph session and a time to play with interactive inflatable games.”

The purpose of the event, said Rhodes, was to allow mothers and sons to enjoy spending time with one another and also to minister to them in a way that would encourage them in their relationship.

“We want to provide our mothers and sons the opportunity to not only enjoy each other’s presence, but to minister to them through music, activities, speakers or by whatever means necessary,” he said.

The night was such a success that the church plans on making it an annual event, with another Mother/Son Adventure planned for next August.

“We had many positive comments about the night, with mothers thanking us for the opportunity to spend a night with their sons,” Rhodes said. “One of the questions we heard was, ‘When are we doing this again?’”

The Mother/Son Adventure is just one example of a ministry that reaches out to children and parents in a creative way.

The children’s department (formally known as Kidz Quest Children’s Ministry, Pursuit of a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ) works hard to create ministries and activities that reach children at different stages in their lives and spiritual development.

The ministry is divided into three different areas — first and second graders, third and fourth graders, and fifth and sixth graders — with each age group  receiving special instruction and activities that direct them to Jesus.

The youngest group, for example, learns about the Bible in a way that can prepare them to accept Jesus as their Savior; the oldest group examines the Bible in an attempt to discern God’s plan for their lives.

Other activities for the children include special prayertimes, missions opportunities, Bible studies, and in-school activities.

Rhodes credits the children’s ministry leadership and volunteers with providing the variety of programs and opportunities for the church’s children.

“We have about 150 leaders who volunteer for us,” Rhodes said. Other members of the Kidz Quest ministry include Bill Casaday, minister of children; Nancy Cobb, children’s secretary; and Lisa Ramsey, children’s assistant.

With such an extensive children’s ministry, Rhodes said it is important to be creative in coming up with  ideas but also to realize that God must always be in control of the planning.

“We are looking to add different opportunities all the time,” he said. “However, we want to make sure that we do not get ahead of what the Lord wants for the ministry.”

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