The First Baptist Church of Bowling Green sees their 140th anniversary celebration on Sunday as a springboard into the future.

“We want to provide some hope and help to people and give them something to be excited about as we work through these tough times,” said Pastor Tom Mullins.

“Guests who attend the event can help us celebrate 140 years of our rich history in Bowling Green and also find out what’s new with FBC,” he added.

Those attending the 10 a.m.-noon event will see how some features of the Baptist church mission have begun again. Mullins added that those who cannot attend can view the service on their Facebook page.

Guests will find that the 10 a.m. worship service again includes the Glow Kids program, which was shut down due to the pandemic.

“While you are participating in the worship service, your kids will learn more about Jesus in a fun, engaging, and age-appropriate way during our GLOW Kids ministry,” Mullins said.

The leaders will be trained in social distancing and sanitation to keep every one safe.

Mullins also noted that the church has continued sharing their message even while church attendance was down by 30-40% since the pandemic began. He said their Adult Life groups maintained regular attendance.

“I think people are craving that community and connections now,” he said.

Mullins said that during the coronavirus shutdown they have had time to revitalize their physical facilities as well as their spiritual direction.

“Work on updating our new foyer and some of the kids areas is almost complete,” he said “and we’re getting a new roof.”

But Mullins said most important, the congregation has sought out new directions in efforts to live their faith.

As a result, the church has set some dates to celebrate the good news they offer.

On Nov. 22 from 5-7:30 pm, their three-part Thanksgiving Celebration will begin with a worship service, followed by a dinner for everyone, and then an Operation Christmas Child group activity to pack gift boxes for children of third- world countries.

On Dec. 14, the church will have a Christmas Open House from 6-8 p.m. in coordination with Bowling Green State University’s Global Connections program. Guests could make a Christmas ornament, decorate a cookie, or do crafts. Mullins said all will be invited to the Dec, 20 service called “That’s a Wrap,” to celebrate the season.

Mullins said church programs became energized after he and the congregation met with a consultant from the organization Unstuck Church late last year.

“He came in to discuss new ways to do some strategic planning and make us a better church that is here for the Bowling Green community, helping us discover new ways to share the good news of Jesus,” Mullins said.

He said while COVID-19 put some plans on hold on, they still had made improvements such as hospitality team to welcome people to the church. He said that a majority of people make a decision about the church in the first 10 minutes.

The First Baptist Church is an independent local church which began ministry in Bowling Green in 1880. For many years the church was located on Oak Street in downtown.

Mullins said the church decided to build a new church on South Wintergarden Road in 1969.

They have been affiliated with the General Association of Regular Baptists for several decades. At the state level they are associated with the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches.