The philosophy at First Church is to nurture young people’s natural curiosity and creativity as they learn how to lead spiritual lives. We introduce Bible stories and principles in new and creative ways, challenge children and youth to explore their understanding of God, and help them develop as thinking, curious, people of faith. We provide opportunities to grow in their self understanding as Christians, and prepare children and youth for the worship of God and the service of humankind.
First Church has multigenerational worship, which means that your wiggly children are celebrated and loved. You won’t get any funny looks for your kid being a kid! If you need a break, or if your little one needs time apart from “big church” for any reason, childcare is available during church at no charge. Oh, and before we forget, at First Church kids get their own bulletin with coloring, activities, and challenges! Just grab the kids’ bulletin on your way in!
CHILDCARE (babies and toddlers) During Church
Professional childcare is always available for babies and toddlers in kinderwatch during worship and after church activities.
WAY COOL SUNDAY SCHOOL (preschool-grade 6) During Church
A “one room schoolhouse” during church for older children who do not want to sit through the entirety of worship, or who don’t have time to stay after church for class. Paid Sunday school teachers will lead discussion and an art or drama activity based on the scripture we are working with in Sunday worship. Children begin with their parents in the sanctuary, and those who choose to attend will leave with their teachers after the children’s message.
ACOLYTE PROGRAM (grades 3-6)
Kids in grades 3-6 will be invited to participate in an acolyte program in worship leadership at First Church. Training, led by members of our diaconate and CE team, will instruct children in how to help with ushering, bell ringing, candle lighting, carrying special banners and sacred objects, help with collecting the offering, and more. Trained acolytes will be able to assist in worship leadership every Sunday!
Spirit Play (preschool-grade 1) After Church at 11!
Spirit Play is a Montessori based religious education curriculum that uses play to engage young children in the stories of faith. It is based on story and ritual, play and creativity. Spirit Play gives children the tools to make meaning of their lives in a supportive, fun, and creative environment. Stories are presented using an active storytelling method followed by a “wondering” time that opens up the child’s response to the story, then the child is free to work directly with that story or another, or to respond to the story or to his or her feelings with art materials. Ages Preschool- 1st grade.
Kid’s Club (grades 2-4) After Church at 11!
Kid’s Club is just what it sounds like – an awesome club for kids at first church! At Kid’s club you’ll learn lessons that will stick with you for your entire life, and have fun while doing it! After church kids are invited to their very own time with snacks and drinks with Pastor Zach and our wonderful volunteers. After snacks we work on a song that we perform in “big church” once a month, and then have a time of story and kid focused conversation about this week’s Bible lesson. We round out our time with a fun game before sending kids back to their families after coffee hour.
Building Bridges (grades 5-7) After Church at 11!
Building Bridges is a world religions program to deepen youth’s understanding of the dynamic, fascinating, and varied world in which they live. It seeks to broaden their knowledge of humanity and embolden their spiritual search. Building Bridges requires several field trips to visit several area houses of worship, including a mosque, Buddhist Temple, synagogue, and more!
First Church in Sterling provides a safe place to explore their faith and identity, where teenagers can be loved and supported exactly for who they are now. We provide youth opportunities to participate in and lead worship, and participate in meaningful service in the community and globally through our La Romana mission.
Donut Church (Sundays, 11:15 am)
Immediately following worship, teenagers join in discussion about the thematic content in worship, bond, and eat a lot of donuts. Grades 8-12.
Pizza Church (Thursdays 6-7:30pm)
This isn’t your gramma’s youth group. On Thursday nights youth ages 7-12th grade are invited to Pizza Church, a youth group built around art, deep conversation, expression, and way too much pizza. We start at 6 with food and an open mic, where youth can perform a song, recite an original poem, tell a funny story, or display an unusual talent. Afterward we have deep conversation around topics that matter. Grades 7-12.
Confirmation (Sundays, 5-6:30 pm)
Confirm not Conform is a confirmation program led weekly by the pastors and adult sponsors. It helps young people grow in their understanding of their faith, and helps them to grow into individual thinkers that can place their faith in historical context while looking optimistically toward the future. What do I believe? How do I become a faithful person in the world? How can my personal faith make the world a better place? The confirmation curriculum will help our young people answer these questions and more. Confirmation ends in a service of commitment in which the youth read their statements of faith to the congregation. Offered biannually for youth in grades 8-10.
Our Whole Lives (Sundays, 5-6:30pm)
Our Whole Lives (or OWL) is a comprehensive, nonjudgemental, and deeply informative sex education program that helps kids learn about sexuality, gender identity and more in a supportive positive environment. Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. We are proud to offer OWL at our church, and many adults tell us that they wish they had had a similar program when they were young. Offered biannually for youth in grades 7-9.
Parents of Teenagers Support Group (Monthly)
Parents of teenagers support group brings together parents of tweens and teens to talk about the complexity of parenting this age group during a tough and tender time, with a particular focus on mental, physical and spiritual health of our children and each other. Meets monthly on the second Thursday at 6 pm; led by Pastor Robin and other lay leaders. Contact Pastor Robin for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.