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By Matthew Brown. Photos by Scott Medina.

First Friday PraiseA living room full of teenagers, laughing and singing, music blaring, and a host family out of the way. No, I’m not talking about a wild party or DiscipleNow weekend. I’m talking about my first praise experience.

I was in high school when a friend invited me to hang out at his house, listen to some music, and sing if I wanted to. Young Life, a non-denominational Christian group that works with high school students, led this praise time.

First Friday PraiseI learned through singing, and then praying, that God was real, that He loved me, and that He understood who I was, who I am, and who He wants me to be. I also learned that God made us to praise Him, that we need to praise Him. Praising God reminds us of who we are.

First Friday PraiseFirst Friday Praise, FBC’s praise service on the first Friday of the month, allows me to renew this kind of experience. In this setting I am able to connect with my family, with friends, and with God. I believe that God intended us all – young and old – to praise together; to connect with Him and to connect with each other. When we lay aside our fears, when we humble ourselves and praise Him, then we are open to see Him and ourselves more clearly.

First Friday Praise drawingWhen my wife and I began attending First Friday Praise, I texted a friend:
Me: “We are going to Church tonight”
Reply: “Y”
Me: “For First Friday Praise”
Reply: “Y”
That was a good question.

I asked my son to tell me what he thought about his experience with First Friday Praise. Jonathan, who is in second grade, drew a picture of his experience.

First Friday PraiseI asked my daughter Madison about First Friday Praise. She said, “I love it; it is great to sing songs and just be able to have fun at church.” This really means something to me. Madison is in 7th grade, almost a teenager. It can be difficult to connect with a teenager. I find myself looking for more and more opportunities that are more and more fleeting. But my daughter and I can go to First Friday Praise together and sing the same songs and praise God together.

Those are good answers.

The next First Friday Praise is Friday, March 2, in the Dining Hall. A potluck dinner at 6:00 p.m. is followed by the praise service at 6:45 p.m. Activities for children and fellowship time for all conclude the evening.


Matthew BrownMatthew met his wife Candi at First Baptist Church, where she is the Children’s Minister. They have three children, Madison (12), in Youth One, Adam (10), in 4th grade, and Jonathan (7), in 2nd grade. Matthew has taught 1st and 2nd grade Missions Force for four years, served as a deacon, volunteered with the Television Ministry since 2002, and attends New Beginnings Sunday school class. He works as a paralegal. In his free time Matthew enjoys cooking for his friends and family, photography, and playing with his growing children.

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