Originally created 11/23/04

Churches have more to attract teenagers



Church often is thought of as a boring, drab place where you are constantly pinching yourself to keep from falling asleep. Some teens feel churches are just sanctuaries filled with people at least three times their age.

The churches I've attended, however, have always had large youth groups and usually interesting sermons.

In October, I attended Fear Factor at Wrens Baptist Church. Teens were able to participate in gross games such as the "happy shake," in which you had to chug down a blended happy meal (a hamburger, fries and a Coke ) in two minutes or less. Along with the games, students were able to hear an interesting message that applied to their lives.

Churches also offer inexpensive or free concerts. Big Daddy Weave, a contemporary Christian group that recently won a Dove Award, was featured in a concert at Warren Baptist Church on Oct. 28. On Dec. 3, Mark Shultz will be in concert at West Acres Baptist Church in Evans. Tickets are on sale at local Christian bookstores.

Church isn't just a place to have fun: There are plenty of opportunities to do some good.

Each year, thousands of teens and church members travel the world on mission projects. West Acres Baptist Church is planning a mission trip to Russia for 2005, and Warren Baptist teens recently traveled to Ecuador to entertain children with Bible stories and games, while the kids awaited their free appointment with the mission health-care team.

Many local churches, including Curtis Baptist, participate in World Changers, a service organization for teens.

Teen church members volunteer at the Golden Harvest Food Pantry and help provide meals to the homeless. Some congregations also send youth groups to Care Pregnancy Center to help with organizing and sorting donations or mailing newsletters. Other teens organize clothing collections for the Salvation Army and create gift boxes for orphans overseas through Samaritan's Purse.

Whether you travel between the beach or the mountains, exciting churches are everywhere.

Go ahead, take the plunge, visit a church this Sunday and see what is out there waiting for you.

Haley Mae Dennard, 15, is a sophomore at Jefferson County High School.