NOT JUST SUNDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS
Anna Goetz & Bradley Maybin
Picture this. You drive down Harrison Street and see a yard full of students and adults. You smell grilled burgers and hot dogs. You hear laughter and music. You see students playing football on the turf, playing basketball on the sports courts, and hanging out around the picnic tables. There’s life, joy, fun, and community. But it’s not a Sunday morning or a Wednesday night. It’s a Tuesday evening.
What would it look like to have that much activity on the west part of our campus on a Tuesday evening? A time engaging students outside of our normal Wednesdays and Sundays? This is our vision for The Loft: a place where students can gather together throughout the week, inviting friends to a safe place to experience the love of God. At The Loft, students will hang out with friends, being tutored in physics or simply finding encouragement in community.
Our students were recently challenged to see the Student Ministry as theirs, to own the ministry they participate in each week. The Loft would provide all kinds of opportunities for students to take ownership of their youth ministry. Students could invite their school groups to meet here, bringing their study groups or their group project meetings to this space. This would be a place students are proud of, leading them to invite their friends to The Loft throughout the week. And this ministry would welcome all students—not just FBC families.
What if a 3-on-3 basketball tournament was provided where students invite their friends who are not church members or friends who do not follow Christ? What if a “5th Quarter” event for students encouraged them to invite friends on a Friday night following a high school football game? The Loft would provide a safe place for students to hang out after the game. Not only this, but it would also provide an opportunity for students to bring their friends with them, friends who might not otherwise ever enter a church building.
On Wednesday nights, the proximity of the sports courts to the worship area in The Loft will help us immensely. Before and after Wednesday night worship times, students may hang out on the sports courts, meet new friends, or catch up on homework. With all student activities taking place in the same building on a Wednesday evening, there is a better opportunity to reach out to students and invite them to join us for worship.
With a kitchen fully equipped for events, there will be opportunities to host Bible Study and breakfast meetings. The Senior Girls’ Bible Study could meet at The Loft, and the girls could grab a hot, fresh breakfast from the kitchen on their way out as they go to school. To have a fully equipped kitchen in The Loft gives us the ability to host events unlike any before.
Recently, our College Ministry hosted Study Nights in the FLC Grande Room for students to prepare for midterms and finals. Weekly events like this are imagined in The Loft, a space for students to study with one another, not just during finals, but throughout the year. The Loft has the potential not only to host our own events, but to provide a space for events such as high school football banquets, choir concerts, or a place for college Baptist Student Ministries to gather. Being in a central location in Amarillo provides opportunities for our community to gather with one another in a safe and sacred space.
What if a student came to his football banquet at The Loft and, a few months later experienced something tragic in his life? What if in that moment he remembers the church that welcomed his team for their banquet and wonders if that same church would be willing to walk alongside of him in his tragedy? Being in The Loft on a Thursday night for a school banquet has now become a pathway to faith.
“In college, I worked at a church that opened a new facility similar to this one,” shared Anna Goetz, Associate Minister to Students. “I saw the many benefits of having a space where students could gather throughout the week. The excitement surrounding the building enhanced not only the student ministry, but the church as a whole. The successes of that facility have better equipped me to know how The Loft could effectively reach the community for Christ.” The Loft is designed to become part of a new rhythm in students’ lives. The hope is The
Loft would instill the idea that worship and discipleship happen throughout the week. Following Jesus and living for Him are not just for Sundays and Wednesdays, but truly a lifestyle. Students are going to gather somewhere; why not provide a safe place for faith formation at First Baptist!
As First Baptist Amarillo has seen over the years, students love being together. The Loft opens up a myriad of opportunities for us to welcome students and their friends throughout the week.