Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."- Matthew 28:18-20
Tonight was a really special night. I have written numerous times how much I love the church I am a part of and this is one of those stories. Tonight was our first baptism service. We are a Baptist church without a baptistry because we meet in an intermediate school. This past year, at a meeting in a member's home (one that I wrote of), our campus pastor noticed that the wading pool in their beautiful backyard would make a perfect site for baptism. Tonight was the first one and it was an absolutely wonderful time.
Eight people were baptized: 3 children, an older lady who did not want to get baptized in front of a large crowd at the main campus and an entire family that has come since we moved out to the second campus. The father of the family that was baptized had been a Christian for over thirty years and decided that this was something he needed to do and lead his family in. We had 30-40 more people than a normal Sunday morning come out to celebrate this time in these believers' lives. Baptism is not an act required for salvation. Rather, it is an act of obedience after someone becomes a Christian. It is a public declaration of your belief. It was so neat to be with those people and their families as we celebrated their declaration.
After the baptisms we all hung out in the backyard for a few hours having a hotdog cookout, playing football and chatting. It was such a great time of fellowship. Who would have thought that we could have been outside in the middle of August and been comfortable? The weather was perfect though with even a breeze.
It has left me with such an excitement about what God is going to do with the West Campus. Tonight is what the church should be like. There are different roles of the church which include evangelism and service outside of the walls. But there is also a role amongst the members which is to be a family and encourage one another on. What better way to do that than to celebrate our friends' baptisms and then have a fun, relaxing, "family" time together? I am again reminded that I am absolutely blessed to be with this group of people, working together for the kingdom of God.