For the past 62 years, Columbia First Baptist Church has broadcast worship services on television and advanced the gospel over the public airwaves in South Carolina and in parts of North Carolina and Georgia.
More recently, worship services have been available worldwide live via the Internet.
Now, in an effort to bring the intimacy of the small-group experience directly into the homes of those who cannot attend church in person, the church has introduced an online live, interactive Sunday school class called Always Learning.
Always Learning is taught by Sunday school and Bible study teacher Janet Ballew, along with host and moderator April Adams, who facilitates discussion and monitors messages and prayer requests from classmates, who can submit comments directly from their computers or digital devices.
Behind the scenes, First Baptist’s digital communications director, Aaron Davis, rotates with Janet’s husband, Mark Ballew, to man the camera and audio board and to monitor the live stream.
Sunday school classmates have tuned in from as nearby as Columbia to across the country in Portland, Ore., as well from countries like Barbados and Brazil.
Like any other Sunday school class, some members are active in their participation — sending in questions, comments and prayer requests — while others choose to listen quietly and take in the lesson.
To watch live, visit AlwaysLearning.church on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Visitors can also watch archived lessons, sign up for the email list, submit prayer requests, download study guides or contact the Always Learning team. The team can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.