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Central Baptist Bearden

Nourishing the Heart of a Child

In today’s culture that can be a challenge. Every day of the week brings new opportunities and new obstacles. Each day demands more from parents and children: sports, homework, community events, family, music and the list just keeps growing. Parents are stressed, wrestle with guilt and search for ways to set better boundaries for their lives. Instead of feeling loved, families feel tired and overwhelmed.

Dr. Wade Bibb sees this dilemma daily. “Central Baptist Bearden wants to be part of the solution, not the problem,” he says. “We know that parents from all walks of life are doing the best they can to hold it together, pay the bills, love their children and be responsible citizens. But some days it’s just too much. The single-parent families are especially hard-hit. We want to help.”

Connecting with children and families
“I remember the day when a young boy let me know I was his pastor,” says Dr. Bibb, reflecting on his family’s journey. “I was fresh out of seminary serving in a small community. It was a ‘snow day’ and school was canceled. An eight-year-old boy called and asked if I wanted to come over and play video games. Well, of course I did. I drove down the long driveway to their home, knocked on the door and his mom invited me in. We talked a while in the kitchen and finally she said, ‘It’s nice to see you, but why are you here today?’ That’s when I realized that he had not asked permission; he just called his pastor to play video games. She didn’t know he had called me. I realized that day, not only did I become his pastor, I also became the pastor of that church family.”

Growing faith from childhood
We are prepared at Central Baptist Bearden to let your child grow and explore life and faith safely. We love children and are committed to helping parents of all families as they love and raise their children. Families will find a safe, secure and attractive environment for their children to grow in community. And we believe community is one of the key elements missing in many families that will make a significant difference.

Strong churches always build strong spiritual foundations. “But with children, we must be careful. We do not want to force or hurry their growth or make their journey a reflection of our own fears and concerns,” says Dr. Bibb. “We give serious attention and resources to ministry with children and families beginning at birth. Nurturing children also encourages and nurtures the faith of all the family members.”

Central Baptist Bearden has two full-time staff ministers for preschool and children. Pat Capps is Minister with Children and Families, having served at Central Baptist Bearden for 10 years. Kara Wheeler is the new Minister with Preschool and Families, joining the team in October.

Teaching children by responding to their questions
Children say the darndest things, and we make sure their questions are always welcomed at Central. “Who died first, Adam or Eve?” “How was God made?” “Can you be baptized in a pool or a lake?” “How old are the sun and the moon?” “Why can God see us but we can’t see Him?” “How old are God and Jesus?” “Why did God make mosquitoes?” Children are not afraid to ask questions. “We may not know the answers,” says Pat, “but we will point each other to the One who does!”

Equipping families to become the church 
outside the walls
The church’s philosophy about children is clear. “From their first day, we want to know our children’s families, their names, their personalities and help them discover their own adventure with God. Through thoughtful planning, and hundreds of active volunteers, Central offers a safe, welcoming environment for even the youngest family member.”

But it’s about more than just teaching and believing. It’s about doing. We are sending families outside the walls of the church to become the church in our schools, communities and playgrounds. Mission trips are planned that are intentionally designed to include families. What a thrill to see children working alongside their parents and siblings as they serve others. That’s a lesson those children will never forget. Children learn by what they see parents doing. These values are more easily caught than taught. At Central Baptist Bearden, children are given opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community, our nation and our world. We consider children the church of today and of tomorrow.

Seeing God’s wonder through the eyes of little children
“Preschool ministry is fun!” insists Kara Wheeler. “We have an opportunity to see the wonder and goodness of God’s creation in the eyes of God’s smallest children. Our church is a safe, loving place for preschoolers to grow in God’s goodness while at the same time connecting the Scriptures to the parents on a personal level.  God created us not to live in isolation from one another, but in community where we can share our experiences and together make the journey we call life.”

Partnering with parents to connect families with God
The preschool and children’s ministries at Central Baptist Bearden are partnering with parents to connect families with God and one another. Our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program provides mentoring, education, encouragement and social opportunities for young mothers. Missions education, including hands-on service with area missions organizations such as Angelic Ministries, assures that as children mature they are always thinking of others and helping the underserved in our community. Dozens of adult volunteers keep the environment safe and encouraging. The church even utilizes Parent Pager, a computer check-in system that uses photo identification to ensure safety and peace of mind for the families.

“These are challenging times for families,” admits Dr. Bibb. “We’re seeing a growing trend of grandparents bringing their grandchildren to church even if the parents are not yet involved. We’ve responded by adapting our schedule to accommodate the needs of those families. They’re working hard and loving so much. We must help them succeed.”

Opportunities to get involved can be found on the church’s website at

Central Baptist Bearden
6300 Deane Hill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37919

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