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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

Youth centers offer alternatives to teens

(April 21, 2002)

Step into the 21st century with Phoenix First Assembly’s 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 transform lives.

Cutting edge: Phoenix First Assembly’s "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 church’s 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 amphitheater’s circular stage for spring and fall theatrical projects. "Our desire is to reach the high school campuses," Baker says. "We don’t 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."

— Isaac Olivarez

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