Here’s the first Dunkfest Video. After this message, 174 people came forward to get baptized, and 4 people received Jesus as Savior. This is part of a series called BirthRight: It’s Yours, Take it Back (based on Joshua).
God blew us all away last weekend, when a huge crowd came forward for baptism. (See the previous two posts for the awesome stories.) By the way, we baptize by immersion. That means we dunk you all the way under water. So this is a pretty big deal.
For this coming weekend, we’re facing 2 big issues:
1) Integrity with regard to youth/children/minors — it has to be their choice, they have to understand the significance of baptism, and their parents or guardians most likely want to watch it! So last weekend, you had to be 18 or over. But not this coming weekend (details below, so stay tuned)
2) Crowd control –– because our 10:45 service had about 5 empty seats, and that’s it! If we open that service to young people, and you invite aunts and uncles and grandparents, we’ll have some very disappointed people!
Remember… this weekend will not be our last baptism service ever. If you don’t fit the guidelines below, please know we care about you and can’t wait to celebration your public declaration of faith in Jesus. We’ll schedule a service just for you soon, so please be patient!
Students (12-17) can get baptized if you bring your parent or guardian with you, backstage, when we give the invitation. They’ll check you in, and then return to the auditorium to watch you get baptized. You have two choices (only): Saturday at 5:00 or Sunday at 12:30. Bring all the family you can!
Students (10-11) can get baptized if bring your parent or guardian with you AND if you have completed our Kids’ Baptism Training packet with your parents. (There’s one exception, below). Same choices: Saturday at 5:30 or Sunday at 12:30.
Families (down to age 10) can get baptized without completing the Training Packet, if another adult in your immediate family with be baptized with you. Please make sure you child understands the meaning of baptism: it doesn’t save, doesn’t wash away sins, doesn’t open up heaven. It is a symbol of your faith in Jesus as your Savior, and of your union with Him. Same choices: Saturday at 5:30 or Sunday at 12:30.
It sounds like something Congress would write, I know. But integrity with kids, and crowd control, loomed big in our minds.
Looming bigger, however, is the powerful hand of God at work among his people! Pray for this weekend. Pray for our gospel messages (Bill in the Celebration and Classic services, Todd at the Well). We’re going to invite people to receive Jesus, and then get baptized. PRAY! The devil hates this, an
d we’re on a battleship!
See you this weekend! I can’t wait to see how God shows up!
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41, NAS95).
Okay, so maybe we didn’t baptize 3,000 souls, but we’re still buzzing about 174. Hopefully, God is setting us up for 3,000 some time in the future… that would be our prayer! In yesterday’s post, I shared about our Surprise Baptism Service at Neighborhood Church. Today, I’d like to share some memorable stories… vignettes that capture a little bit of what God was doing.
I’d also love it if you could leave some of your own stories in the comment section… a kind of “stone pillar” for future readers of this blog.
- A young guy named Garrett approached me in the crowded hallway. He said, “I need help.” I asked why. He said, “I’ve never received Jesus and I need to!” I shared the gospel with him, and right there he prayed to receive Jesus… and a few minutes later was baptized.
- A newly engaged couple, going through the line to change and get baptized said something like, “This completes our engagement.”
- A 77 year old gentleman sat with Ken Jones during the commotion to get changed and Ken led him to the Lord. He was the last person baptized at the 5:00 (Sat) service. The next day, he flew home to Wisconsin.
- Jim Botts, our Community Life Pastor, baptized people for 4 services. Dave Hall joined him for the 10:45 service. The rough counts looks like this (these figures may change as we process baptismal certificates).
- Jennifer and Darrin Beaver spent their date night on Saturday shopping for extra shorts and clothing.
- Teams of volunteers helped sign in and process happy, nervous people at every service.
- A young woman told me she wasn’t sure she was saved and wanted to make sure. I asked her what she was counting on to connect her with God and get her to heaven. She said, “Because I love him.” We talked about the difference between pointing to our own works (“I love God”) and pointing to Jesus and his finished work on the Cross (“He loved me enough to die for me”). Who are you going to point to? She prayed to receive Jesus and went public a few moments later.
- We know of four people who received Jesus in preparation for baptism. Any more stories of this?
- The bathrooms and back stairway quickly became slippery. Dedicated volunteers kept mopping and towel-drying (by hand) the stairways and floors all through the services!
- We ran out of shorts! So we had to recycle them. People got baptized, returned to change, and handed off their wet shorts to someone else. Go church!
- At the 10:45 service, we did “double-double” baptisms. Four at once. I don’t have pictures yet, but I will post them soon. A husband stands behind his wife and holds onto her. The both get laid backwards into the water together. Two couples do this, side by side, at once. A double-double, four people at once. It was the only way we could get through 70 people… Jim and Dave had a tough time keeping their heads above water for this! Great job, guys!
- The energy in the hallways and changing areas was ELECTRIC. People were high-fiving, excited, happy, nervous.
- The water was warm, about 80 degrees, and we floated a pool chlorinator in it. It still turned greenish and ugly, because of the dye from the unwashed shirts and shorts. Jim Botts started shivering uncontrollably at 12:30… way to take one for the team! (80 degrees is still lower than his core temperature…)
- When you are baptized, we have to shove you under the water, because you float.
- A number of veteran Christians was baptized… for whatever reasons they never got around to it before, and told us how grateful they were for this opportunity. I was so proud of these guys for standing up strong and proud for Jesus!
ALL THE PICTURES WILL BE POSTED FLICKR… THIS ALLOWS YOU TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT AS MANY AS YOU WANT!!! As of this moment, only 5:00 and 9:00 have been uploaded. We hope to have the rest uploaded by Thursday. Here’s the link: Neighborhood Church Photostream.
I’m only scratching the surface of an amazing work of God. Thank you, Lord, for letting me witness your mighty hand with my own eyes, and for letting me be a part of it.
What stories have you heard?