Monday, November 16, 2009

A Church Making an Impact

I have been attending church my entire life (43 short years) and in all those years the churches I attended had baptism services seemed like an afterthought or something to tag on right before the offering.  

The very 1st step in obedience as a believer, a follower of Christ, is to be baptized.  Christ set the example for us.  When we read about the birth of the church in the book of Acts we find that the early Christians believed and were baptized.

Since baptism is such a major moment in the life of a believer, the opportunity to make your followship a public declaration, how come it becomes an afterthought or a "tag on"?

Yesterday I once again attended Blue Ridge Community Church in Lynchburg, Va.  This church has exploded in the past several years in growth.  BRCC is making an impact in their community.  They are reaching the lost, they are meeting needs in their community.  Blue Ridge is far from traditional.  The moment you pull onto their campus you can see that they are intentional in what they do and they know why they exist as a church.

This is the first church I've attended that take baptism to a different level, not just incorporating it into the service they build the entire worship experience around baptism.  Both times I have attended a baptism service they have had a couple folks share their story.  The impact is more powerful than a sermon preached by a pastor following a baptism because real people sharing their real story, their encounter with Christ, is powerful.  You can check out BRCC's baptism service here, I'm sure they will have it posted and available on video on their podcast page soon.  Yesterday over 40 new believers were baptized!  BRCC has baptism services like this several times a year.  (BRCC's team of volunteers have a system down to a science, something to behold)

Yesterday's baptism worship experience for me and my family was extra special because we got to hear my brother's story and watch him be baptized.  An awesome time for our family.

One of the coolest things they do is baptize in a tank that is placed near the front of the stage and then family and friends can gather around the tank on the stage to be a part of the moment in the life of this new believer.  The baptizee is baptized by a friend or family member or pastor who has played a role in their faith walk.  Again a powerful witness to show the church that it is our responsibility to share our faith and the love of Christ with those we come in contact with.

How does your church "do" baptism?  
Is it time to perhaps re-think, evaluate and change so this important step in the life of a believer can have an impact on those who perhaps are on the edge of taking a huge step of faith by trusting in Christ as their Savior?


marie said...

I liked how Scott's church did the baptism. Wondering if somehow NHC could have our baptisms done in a similar way. I do like to go to them at the beach and Sound because it makes it more public but it's hard to hear what's being said. On the other hand, it would be cool to have it more intimate with the church family and friends.
Scott's testimony and baptism had quite an impact....wish I could have experienced the whole service!

bpiflier said...

Scott's story rocked! Because God is rocking Scott's story.

Blue Ridge baptisms get me jacked, man. They infuse my myopia with the reminder that God is working all around me in the lives of real people in real situations. It begs the question, "Is God alive and moving through me?"—a challenge that is contagious across our congregation.

That's why we have so many "double dippers," people who stay for both services.

We were glad to have you again. I was one of the guys in reflective vests getting you to the right parking spot. First service last Sunday was the most cars I've ever parked for a first service in three years.

Thanks for posting this--for spreading the word on how God is moving in our community!

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