Yesterday Gateway held it’s first baptism service of the year. What a great start to the year with 167 baptisms. Woo hoo! Going into this weekend, we had a little over 100 people registered, more than 30 of them being kids. Baptism Sunday’s are already a great day at Gateway. We understand that upwards of 30% of adults in our services are not yet Christ followers. Week after week, relevant messages challenge them to consider who God is, what he’s done for them and what a relationship with him would look like. We find that most people who come to faith at Gateway do so after wrestling with it for a while. Salvation isn’t always a split decision, sometimes it is a process. On Baptism Sunday, Gatewayers are challenged to take that final step. If they’ve recently made a decision, this is the day to make it public. If they need to take that final leap and make a decision, then there’s no day like this day. Every Baptism Sunday, we see people come out of the auditorium and get baptized totally unprepared as the Holy Spirit prompts them to do the deed. We also see a lot of groups get into the pool. We believe that life change happens best in relationships, so often times entire small groups jump in the pool to support the person getting baptized. It’s a beautiful celebration. Below is the video from yesterday’s message which consists of several interviews of people’s lives being changed who were also baptized yesterday as well.
There are so many great stories from yesterday that I got to witness.
I had one family that didn’t hear about the baptism class in time. A dad called me over the weekend to find out what they needed to do. Both of his kids, a 12 and 14 year old filled out the adult baptism packet and they really wanted to get baptized becasue their mom was coming up from Corpus Christi. I arranged to meet them during one of the services and walk through what it means to have a relationship with God and be baptized. I met with the whole family for close to 45 minutes and we had a great conversation. Because we met during the service, the 14 year old was insistent that they get baptized after the service but then stay for the 12:30 service. She really wanted her mom to experience Gateway. It was an honor to baptize these kids who truly had made Jesus their Lord; however, something peculiar happened. After the 12:30 service, I saw them at the pool again. I joked, “you back for more already?” In some way, the mom visiting from Corpus Christi was visibly touched by the service and felt prompted to be baptized as well. I don’t know her spiritual condition other than the fact that she does go to church and that she did sit through the discussion I had with her kids. It was obvious that something significant was happening in her life. What a beautiful thing for her kids to witness!
I met another guy right after one of the services. He was the first in line to be baptized. I asked him what prompted him to be baptized today. He said that he’d been attending Gateway for over a year, but didn’t come in today. He was watching the service online (woo who web campus) and felt like he was supposed to be baptized. So, he jumped in his car and drove up to the church to take this next step in his faith.
I could go on an on telling you other stories I heard or things that I saw, but I’ll spare you the details. If you’re having one of those days and want to read more, feel free to click here and here. Great stories from those who pre-registered for the baptism.
However, my favorite part is seeing others empowered to baptize. I love nothing more than seeing moms and dads in the pool baptizing their children. I saw husbands baptizing their wives and wives baptizing their husbands. It was very exciting to see my wife baptize her friend that she’s been walking with relationally and spiritually this year and had the distinct pleasure of leading her to Christ. She did great! We also have an 19 year-old intern serving in our Student Ministry. He’s overseeing a lot of the programming and teaching in Middle School and this kid is FIRED UP! He’s been in church his whole life and he’s been one of the lead teachers for five year-olds for many years. He’s had a significant impact on so many of these little kids. One of the kids being baptized this Sunday had been in his class all this year and requested him. Justin (the intern) was so excited. Probably one of my favorite parts of the baptism yesterday was seeing how excited Justin was to baptize a child he’d had so much influence over and to know that this is only the first of hundreds if not thousands of people Justin will baptize.
Enjoy some of the photos below.