Fitness, recreation and fellowship underlie the mission of the First Baptist Church of Brandon’s Ministry and Activities Center (MAC), set to hit its fourth anniversary this year as a major sports and events facility just south of Brandon Boulevard off Parsons Avenue.
At the helm is Kevin Ohme, minister of activities, who played professional baseball before taking over scheduling and operations for the MAC. His wife teaches calculus at Newsome High and once taught and coached volleyball at Durant.
“We’re plugged into the church, this is our church,” said Ohme, about the First Baptist Church of Brandon, which in 2015 celebrates its 100th anniversary. “We didn’t want to build this place as just a country club for the members of our church. We wanted to open a safe, creative environment for children and reach out to our community.”
MAC, in effect, is a ministry onto itself.
“People in general might not be interested to come into the church,” Ohme said about the church buildings that surround the MAC. “But they may not be intimidated to come here, where we can build relationships and maybe start to talk about the bigger issues in life.”
At the center June 20, seniors were working out in the fitness room, youngsters were rehearsing for a musical theater production and the Harlem Legends Shoot for the Stars Basketball Camp was under way on the basketball court, led by Harlem Globetrotter legends Michael Douglas and Larry “Shorty” Coleman. The indoor soccer camp for kids was set to begin the next day.
“I want the community to know this is a place where the kids can come and feel safe and have fun,” Ohme said. “One of the very first things people say to me is, ‘You feel safe in this environment.’ ”
Public television sets, including in the workout rooms, show programming that is appropriate for all ages.
Elementary school student Caroline Ohme, whose dad runs the center, gave her personal assessment of the facility.
“It’s just cool because there’s basketball courts and there’s a kid’s room and lots of kids and babies like to play in there,” she said. “It’s just a big, fun place.”
What To Do At The First Baptist Ministry & Activities Center (MAC)
- The MAC includes two, full-sized basketball courts that also can be used as volleyball courts and tennis courts. Overhead, a walking track has open visibility, with each lap representing one-tenth of a mile. Also in the center, a racquetball court, game room, cycle room, conference room and café.
- The “Kidzone,” for kids from birth to age 8, includes a play tree house, mats, games, toys, puzzles and an infant area.
- The co-ed fitness area includes treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, strength training equipment and free weights. Personal trainers are available, with individual and group rates for individual or multiple sessions. A minimum of three sessions is required for new clients, in addition to a $15 fitness assessment. There also is a four-session, nutrition and personal training start-up session available for $115. The cost for one session for a church members is $35. The cost for a community member is $45.
- Fitness orientations, led by a professional trainer, are held the first Tuesday of the month at 10:30 a.m. and the last Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m.
- “The Loft” is a room used for group exercises, but also for other purposes, such as this week’s School of Fine Arts (SOFA) production of “Seussical: The Musical.”
- The group exercise room includes dumbbells, step benches, stability balls, mats, gliders and agility ladders. Group exercises include a full range of offerings for ladies only, men and women and seniors, including stretch, pilates, Zumba, cardio classes and aerobic weight training.
The cost to attend the First Baptist Brandon Ministry and Activities Center (MAC) is $45 a month for families who attend the church and $60 a month for all others. The individual rates are $28 and $35, respectively. Seniors who attend the church pay nothing; seniors outside the church pay $13 a month. The student cost is $18 a month.
The registration fee is $35, but that fee is waived for the summer special. The special, for members, cost $25 for a student, $80 for an individual and $120 for a family. For people outside the church, the costs are $60 for a student, $100 for an individual and $145 for a family.
The summer special runs through August 31.
The MAC is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Café and childcare hours vary.
To inquire about hours, camps, group actitives and more, call 813-315-3280.