Wow, I can’t believe that I haven’t posted a blog in over 2 weeks! I haven’t been quiet though. Believe me, I’ve been running my mouth plenty. I wanted to share a little of my experience this past weekend.
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED: Last Sun. evening we had our first baptsim service at Crew Community Church. And like everything Crew does it was a little outside of the box. It wasn’t so much a typical service as it was a baptism and a BBQ celebration in one of our member’s pool. (Thanks J.R. and Emma!) We had 6 folks publicly declare: “I believe that Jesus Christ is God. I believe He died for my sin. I believe He came back to life. Through faith in Christ, I died and rose again with Him. I received the gift of God’s Spirit to change my life. I am a Christian and I am going to follow Jesus Christ.” All of that in the beautiful symbol of water baptism.
HERE’S WHAT I FELT: I was pumped that God was using our team to share the message of Christ and people were responding. I also felt privileged that I was getting to take part in such a special, special occasion for these peeps and this chruch. But bubbling up throughout the day was a sense of, I don’t know, dread? Fear? Not dread of baptizing people, I loved that. Not a fear of being seen and heard, I’m a public person. But a dread of being misunderstood and a fear of being stereotyped.
HERE’S WHY I FELT IT: There are tons of stereotypes around preachers. They talk wierd. They say goofy stuff like “blessing” and “thee”. They turn a monosyllabic word like “God” into “GOOOOOOOOOOOOD”. They dress weird. They sometimes have a collar around their neck or wear a robe. They act wierd. People assume they don’t go to movies or play cards or dance or chew tobacco or laugh real loud. Before I became a Christian I use to think preachers must iron their underwear! I hate that stuff. And it takes you about 10 minutes to figure out that I’m not that guy. But. But. There are some events and some scenarios that I am unable to break those stereotypes. Not only that, but I end up reinforcing it. Those occasions are weddings and funerals and baptisms. At these events you have people from all walks of life and for some the only time they’re in a church or see a pastor. For example, at a wedding I’m expected to say something like, “Dearly beloved we’ve gathered here…”. And everything in me wants to blow that up and do something else, but I can’t without ruining someone’s wedding. Another example. At funerals I pray with the family which I love doing. I preach a funeral sermon which I love doing. But even then everything is so scripted and seems forced. Don’t get me wrong, I feel so honored to be sharing these occasions with families and individuals. It’s just that these are events that throw me off a little. I thought here we go, baptisms are going to be another one of those formal official religious events when the pastor does “his thing.”
HERE’S HOW IT PLAYED OUT: So with all of that swirling around in my head, I got into the pool. The fact that I was in a pool helped me. I thought this isn’t the norm, good. We’re all wearing swimming trunks and T-shirts, not robes. Good. I explained in very straight and simple terms what we were doing and why we were dunking people. I did that Sun. morning as well. And then one by one they publicly declared their faith and I baptized them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
HERE’S THE MAIN POINT: Every week in our Treehouse (Sunday Morning Worship Time) our K-5th graders learn a main point to take away for the week. A couple weeks ago it was “It’s not about me.” I learned that this past week. It’s not about me. This was a celebration of new life and the death of an old life. This was declaring Christ’s fame in the back yard of 15 Pincrest Drive. This wasn’t about robes or me wanting to pronounce a Trinitarian formula. This was about God and what He is doing at Crew and in the lives of Amy, Sunny, Ben, Kaitlin, Chase, and Collin. So shut up and be misunderstood Josh. It’s not about you!
Oh, I almost forgot. Right after we finished someone noticed that there was dead mole floating in the pool the whole time! Is that gross or what?!