"As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?" Acts 8:36
I wanted to start a new series to write on special Sundays to outline reasons I love the church we are attending. It can be very easy to focus on the negative in anything we do. To point out everything we would change, every little problem we have. Everything that doesn't make us happy. All too often, we focus on those aspects to the exclusion of all that we have been blessed with.
And please do not misunderstand me, I love a lot of things about Stonepoint. I love the staff, I love the intentionality that everything is done with, I love the biblical foundation, I love the people. Everything listed probably does not get enough recognition. But this series will not initially focus on those aspects. To start this series is going to focus on those really unique, standout things our church does, including a few things that I would love to see other churches do as well.
This is on my mind because today is Baptism Sunday. Stonepoint does not have a baptistery, so Baptisms are scheduled for around three times a year. This Sunday, May 6, 2018, will be the first baptism service of 2018. And if you've never been to a Stonepoint baptism, here are a few things that really standout to me about this Sunday.
1) The whole church comes together - At Stonepoint, we have five services on Sunday mornings, three in Wills Point and two in Edgewood. This Sunday, we will only have one service at 10:00 am outside at the Wills Point campus. The platform will be setup for the worship team and the "pool" for the baptisms. All services and both campuses will come together to recognize the life change that has occurred in the lives of those baptized, as well as the growth of the church and God's kingdom. It is a time for us all to be united. To see those that serve in other services that we may not get to see as often. To celebrate together. It's one of the important milestones where we are all united.
2) The baptisms involve the whole staff and those who have been influential in the life change that is being celebrated - Our baptisms are not performed by Brandon, the senior pastor, only. The baptism itself is performed by the staff member, journey group leader, teacher, parent, etc. that has the strongest connection to the person being baptized. Beyond that, those members that are closest to the person being baptized are invited in the water with them. Parent, sibling, journey group members. It's a celebration of the journey and we have those that are celebrating the most involved in the process.
3) It's a party - I've been using the word celebration over and over again because that is the best way to describe our baptism services. It is a celebration of the lives that have been changed and brought into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a celebration of the lost being found. It is a celebration of relationships being restored, of lifelong friendships, of forgiveness. Of the old passing away and being made new. For a fresh start. A new hope.
It is written that the angels in heaven rejoice when a sinner repents.
"Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:15
We want to join in that celebration. So in addition to the baptisms themselves we sing. Loud. We have bounce houses. We have Kona Ice. We set up our lawn chairs and blankets. Throw footballs and frisbees. And we eat, eat, and eat (we're mostly recovering Baptists, so of course we eat).
This is homecoming. It's a family reunion. It's a party because our brother, our sister was lost and has now returned. We can learn a lot from the story of the prodigal son here, because when the prodigal comes home, it is a time to bring out the best, the finest.
So, if you are looking for a church home, to find a place to truly connect and dig in deeper, you can find out more about Stonepoint here.
If you have a church home, I would ask you what you love about your church. Could you list the things that you feel your church is really strong in? And are there areas that you recognize you are being called to serve in?
And if you have not yet believed and followed Christ in baptism, I would ask you:
Look, here is water. What stands in your way from being baptized?