Monday, June 13, 2011

A New Believer, a New Baptism

I’ve written about my concerns that our Hispanic ministry has been more like Martha than Mary. This past weekend I was given another anecdote to share. I write this not to criticize our church, since I’ve been on this bandwagon, but because I believe we are at the point of moving forward.

Saturday night after service I received a phone call from one of my friends, “Hey, we’re all going over to so-and-so’s for a cookout. Want to go?” This is one of the things I love about our Hispanic group. We can have a party almost anytime completely at random. Hannah and I were among the first to get there (since these things typically start late), which allowed us to be among the first to leave, around midnight.

One couple there has been fairly regular in attending services. I remembered the wife had filled out one of our connection cards asking for information on how to be baptized. This occurred a while ago, and since I’ve been thinking a lot about our priorities and focus in ministry, I seriously questioned whether or not someone had contacted her about this important question.

After thinking about it for a while and going in and out of the house, I finally mustered the courage to ask. I said, “I heard you had asked about baptism on your connection card. Did anyone ever followed up with you?” She gave me a look of relief mixed with a weariness, “I have been waiting two months for someone to talk to me about it!”


Fortunately, she was very gracious and we were able to sit around a table together: her, her husband, the pastor’s wife, my wife, and I. Not having spoken with a candidate for baptism before, I started with Matthew 28:18-20 and explained that we baptize because Christ commands us to.

Since Jesus said to make disciples and then baptize them, I explained how we become disciples. I wasn’t sure if she was a Christian or not, but after explaining the gospel, she was able to articulate her faith in Christ, which she says happened about two months ago. If we had followed up with her two months ago we could have learned this and rejoiced with her. We could have helped her work through some basic doctrines, including baptism.

Once we were sure of her confession, talking about baptism was a joy. We covered Romans 6:4 and explained the significance of baptism. She grasped this quickly, and after some discussion about how baptism is a celebration and a witness to others, we set a date and encouraged her to invite friends and family to see and rejoice with us when she goes under and come up in a beautiful picture of our identification with Christ.

We’re having a leadership meeting soon, and this topic will definitely be out on the table. Then Hannah and I will meet with this lady and her husband one more time before her baptism to reinforce what she’s learned and to share some encouragement and fellowship together.

Praise God for another sister in Christ!

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