Step into the 21st century with Phoenix First Assemblys
youth group. There, theme park-like attractions, cutting edge facilities
and activities as hip as any secular entertainment are drawing teens
to church. Not only is the church providing good, clean fun, it is helping
Cutting edge: Phoenix
First Assemblys "Student Impact" offers teens safe
entertainment in its new state-of-the-art facility.
"We believe strongly in giving students a
place that will keep them out of trouble," says Brad Baker, pastor
of "Student Impact" ministries at Phoenix First Assembly.
"This gives us an opportunity to give students on our campuses
a place to call their own."
One thousand seats surround an 18,000-square-foot
classic amphitheater with a circular stage. Behind the stage are two
20-foot electronically movable doors leading into a courtyard with 700
open-air overflow seats sitting next to a huge fountain. The circular
stage accommodates dramas, theatrical projects and weekly praise and
worship. Next to the courtyard, lattes and coffee are served in a café
seven days a week. A din rises from the churchs arcade where teens
swarm around foosball tables and video games. Others play basketball
in a newly built gymnasium.
The center, completed in January, was built exclusively
for ministry to teens.
To be as effective as possible, the church is partnering
with local high schools that use the amphitheaters circular stage
for spring and fall theatrical projects. "Our desire is to reach
the high school campuses," Baker says. "We dont want
to leave any stone unturned, we want to use every tool possible to impact
students for Christ."
Mark Stoddard, drama director for First Assembly,
has benefited from the new facility and is using it to reach teens who
have artistic interests. "If we can attract kids who have a gift
in the arts, we can give them the tools of drama and acting so they
can take it wherever they go," Stoddard, 37, says. "We want
to teach them to balance their faith with art."
According to Baker, the new facility will be used
to reach out to the local community in as many ways as possible. "We
want to be multifaceted," he says. "We want to use what God
has given us to bring as many young people in so we can further the
Kingdom to the best of our ability."