Children are very important to the life of the church family at First Baptist Church in Beverly! We view children as a central and important part of the Body of Christ and of the body of the church, and they are welcomed and encouraged to participate fully – and to bring their unique selves and gifts – in the life of the church.
We offer a variety of options for children during the worship time, in an effort to ensure that we are best meeting the needs of our youngest church family members. Nursery Care is provided throughout the service for our youngest children (those in Kindergarten and younger are welcome to begin the service in our Nursery Care room, and our youngest children may remain there throughout the worship hour). We encourage children in Grades 1 and above to begin worship in the sanctuary with the church family, either sitting with parents or caregivers in the pews or by making use of our flexible and child-friendly Prayground space at the front of the sanctuary. During the worship time, there is a Stepsitters message for all children, after which children are dismissed for their Multiage Children’s Class (Kindergarten and above) or to return to Nursery Care, in the case of our youngest children. Children are not required to leave at this time, however, and some children do prefer to remain with their families for the duration of the worship service.
On the first Sunday of each month, it is our practice to share in Communion (the Lord’s Supper), and we do not offer our Multiage Class that week, so that we can worship all together as the gathered Body of Christ. Although it is our tradition, as American Baptists, that children do not receive Communion until they are baptized (in our church that happens in 8th grade), we have an open table, and we encourage families to do what is best for your child(ren). Whether our children are receiving Communion or not, they enjoy being in worship for the sharing of that ritual and that time and being a part of the full body of the church family. Nursery Care for children in Kindergarten and younger is offered on Communion Sundays throughout the service.
We support whatever decision works best for each unique child and family, and what is most important to us is that children and families feel at home and comfortable in our worship space and time. Children help us to remember the wonder and joy that can be found in the smallest moments, and we feel privileged to have them join us in our church family.
Jesus tells us, “Let the little children come,” and we strive to faithfully follow his example and his leading. Thank you for sharing your children with us!
For an excellent take on why children belong in church, please check out this outstanding blog post
It is a firm conviction of the church family here at First Baptist Church in Beverly that having God’s people of all ages gathered together for moments of worship is a life-giving and hopeful, positive experience. We also believe firmly that it is important for children to learn that worship is not just for grown-ups but is, instead, an act of the whole community gathering together. As such, we are overjoyed to welcome our children into our worship space, in whatever way works best for your family, whether that means sitting in the pew with a parent or making use of our flexible Prayground space at the front of the sanctuary. We believe that God created children with some wiggle in them, and that children often can learn and listen best when they are free to quietly move their bodies a bit – whether drawing, coloring,
quietly looking at a book, or just sitting on the floor to listen. We also know children often do best when they can really see what’s happening and feel connected to it and engaged in it. For this reason, our Prayground space at the front of the sanctuary offers opportunities for children to quietly enjoy worship in a child-friendly space and way, with parents and caregivers seated nearby in the pews or on the floor with them, if you wish. It is our joy to welcome our littlest worshippers here in our midst. We give thanks to the church family for allowing our children the grace and the space to be children, and we give thanks to our children and families for helping us to ensure the Prayground is a safe and welcoming and quiet space for everyone. When you arrive at First Baptist Church on a Sunday, please do not hesitate to ask a Deacon or worship leader for more information about the Prayground space or where to find it.
Mothers are welcome to nurse their children wherever and whenever is comfortable, including in the Sanctuary during worship service, but we realize that some mothers prefer more privacy.
One option is the Lounge at the rear of the Sanctuary. The Lounge has comfortable couches and chairs, as well as wide doors open to the Sanctuary, allowing parents a comfortable environment with full view of the worship service. The Lounge also has a speaker system that connects with the Sanctuary sound system.
A second option is the Parents’ Lounge on the lower level of the building, with a couch, rocking chair, and toys for young children. This room also has a set of speakers so that parents and caregivers are able to hear the worship service from the space that best suits the needs of their families.
To ensure that parents and caregivers of young children are able to fully participate in the life of the church, childcare is provided for all-church meetings and major church events. Our Safe Church Policy means that we always have at least two childcare providers on duty at any given time, and adults who work with our children have been CORI checked.
Nursery Care for young children (Kindergarten and below) is available during the worship service time, provided by a CORI checked Childcare Coordinator and a rotating staff of excellent youth assistants from our Youth Fellowship groups. Parents and caregivers will be asked to sign their children in, as well as to provide a cell phone number at which they can be reached during the worship hour. During the service, we ask that this cell phone be set to vibrate so that our Childcare Coordinator can easily reach you in the event that your child needs you.
Children in Grades 1 and above are encouraged to begin worship sitting with their families, and they will then be dismissed for their class time following the Stepsitters children’s message during the service.
Teachers lead the class in teams of two, and all teachers have been CORI checked and attend regular teacher training sessions to continue to deepen their skill and prepare their class time.
Our curriculum is designed to work well for all types of learning styles, and we work with each family to ensure we are successfully meeting each child’s unique needs.
Parents and caregivers can pick their children up in the Nursery Room and Upstairs Classroom following the worship service, so that each child can be dismissed to you with care.
For more information on our curriculum and Christian Education for grades 6-12, please see our Sunday School page. Children in Middle School and High School are also invited to our Youth Fellowship program, which provides a greater focus on individual growth and public service.
Our Prayground space is equipped with child-friendly items for quiet use during the worship service, such as paper, markers, and crayons; books; Bible puzzles; and foam blocks for quiet building. Children are
invited to make use of these materials in the Prayground space or, in the case of books and art materials, to bring them to their pew with family to use while they are sitting in worship.
The church regularly hosts Parents’ Night Out events, free of charge, for families. At these events, staff and volunteers will be ready to receive your children for a time of fun, dinner, music, art, and learning (like a mini Vacation Bible School experience) while you are free to go out to dinner, run needed errands, meet friends, or do any of the many things that busy parents need to fit into increasingly tight schedules. See our Calendar page to see when the next event is scheduled.