Albany First Baptist gives kids extreme way to worship - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany First Baptist gives kids extreme way to worship

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June 5, 2006 

Albany-- You've heard of extreme sports and extreme makeovers. How about extreme religion? Leaders at one church want to go beyond the normal church setting for vacation bible school to bring more kids to worship. It's already getting some kids on higher ground.    

To the average ears and eyes, this music and fun on wheels would seem like a typical day for kids.  But look and listen a little more closely and you'll hear some praise in the midst of a party.

"I believe Jesus Christ is here tonight," says Albany First Baptist Student and Activities Minister Brian Scott to a big group of kids, "Tonight, you say, I want to turn from my ways and I want to follow Jesus Christ."

For 12-year-old Cortez Banks, using his feet to move a scooter forward at the park brings him much closer to where he wants to be.

"It feels good," says Banks, "it gives you a chance to learn something about Jesus." And that's the goal of these ramps made for jumps and tricks.  First Baptist Church is using Riverskate Park as a setting for a new venture, Extreme Bible School, a different spin on the typical Vacation Bible School.

"The real motivation was just trying to do something different to try to share the message of Christ with the kids," says Scott. A big message they're helping to teach through a Christian Rock Band made up of young church members.  They're called Following the Footsteps and other kids are not only following, they're listening.

"A lot of people don't think rock and Christian really mix but they can and when kids see that, it makes them think hey this Christian thing isn't as bad as I thought it was," says 15-year-old Miller Wright. "Stuff like this helps to raise you up right, keeps you on the right track," says 15-year-old Skip Deriemacker. These kids are thankful for a way to get on the right track and even more thankful that they can do it outside of the classroom. 

Either way, the program will help them move in a positive direction.

"It's definitely a deeper meaning. In this world, there's a lot of distractions, a lot of things that can tempt teenagers these days, a lot of bad things that teens can get into," says Scott.

Cortez says he could be in any other place. He says, "Probably playing basketball or out in the streets." But he's glad he's here instead.  Even though he'll fall every now and then, a church with an extreme vision will help him up each time.  

First Baptist hopes to expand Extreme Bible School over the next few years to include other churches or make it a community-wide event. More than 200 kids are currently enrolled in VBS.

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