Baptism Celebration – Mark the Moment
By NMC - August 25, 2016
Posted in Stories from NMC
Our faith is about the marathon. It’s not about the sprint. It’s sustained in the everyday ordinary, the routine, the constant and intentional growth. It’s developed in the long-haul, in seasons of abundant growth and seasons of hardship. It’s created moment by moment, snapshot by snapshot.
But every once in a while, we get to experience big, defining moments that lead us closer to the Father. They’re out of the ordinary, special gifts. They are things we take special note of. They are moments we mark.
This Sunday, nearly 50 individuals will experience moments like this because of baptism. As a church, we will have the opportunity to step into people’s unfolding stories and recognize how far the Lord has brought them. We get to see glimpses of how He has grown them, worked in them and developed them. We will have a front row seat to witness an outward action that reflects an inward change, and we will have the opportunity to help them mark moments.
Our Summer Baptism Celebration is a long-standing tradition. Before Heritage Hill existed, we gathered at Larry Wagner’s pond just a couple of miles from the church. People set up lawn chairs and laid blankets on the ground. The church marked holy and sacred moments year after year. Hundreds of people were baptized in that water, and the church celebrated with a shared meal.
When Heritage Hill was built, we moved our summer baptism service to NMC. People set up lawn chairs and laid blankets on the ground. We gathered on the hill, sang together and cheered wildly when someone was baptized. It was the same kind of baptism, just a new location. Since its completion, hundreds of people have marked moments on that grassy hill and in that small pond.
Because that’s what baptism is. It’s not something that one does to be saved. It isn’t the end of a person’s faith journey. It’s marking a moment. It’s publicly proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ through a simple, yet profound action. It’s following Christ and stepping into the water. This year, each person will step into the pond and take another step in their faith. Some are ten years old; some are in their seventies. Some are long-time Christians; some have more recently come to faith. All of them are choosing to set aside the things that held them back and be obedient to the Lord.
For Drew Minnich, a high school senior, getting baptized is a huge step outside of his comfort zone. Drew grew up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus as his Savior at a young age. His parents modeled growing and vibrant relationships with Christ. They modeled prayer and grace and forgiveness, showing him what it looked like to follow the Lord and serve others well. In a day and age when Christians can come under fire for standing on what they believe to be true, Drew knows that being baptized is something he needs to do to stand on his faith.
His journey will continue. His faith will continue to grow. But on Sunday he will mark a moment.
As Meghan Hutsell has grown in her faith, she’s realized that Christianity is much more about creating a dynamic and growing relationship based on faith than simply following rules or coming to church. Over the years, her parents and grandparents have played a significant role in her relationship with Christ. With their love, guidance and support, she has begun to understand her role in the Kingdom of God. As she continues to grow, she finds herself learning to rely more and more upon Christ.
Her journey will continue. Her faith will continue to grow. But on Sunday she will mark a moment.
Baptism is a significant step in faith. It’s a beautiful picture of surrender, of being washed clean. There is power in following so closely after Christ by doing something He did, and there is power in helping others mark their moments.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19)
Because of God’s grace, we will have the opportunity to watch nearly 50 people take a step of faith and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We will celebrate the beauty and holiness of changed lives, and we will help each person mark a moment in their faith journey.
We would love to celebrate with you! Bring blankets or chairs to sit on, and join us at 4:00 p.m. on Heritage Hill. Stick around for a meal and activities afterward as we celebrate together!