Baptism is the ancient, Christ-modeled act of associating with the person and movement of Jesus, who is the Christ. For centuries follower-apprentices of Jesus have been baptized before friends and family to witness their allegiance to Jesus as their Rescuer and Leader. From the Ethiopian eunuch to the Philippian jailer, God's people have baptized those who trusted Jesus wherever there was water and witnesses.
Over time, that practice was brought inside buildings with baptismal fonts and pools built into the architecture and leadership limited to credentialed, professional clergy. We know, however, that in oppressed countries Christ followers have found bathtubs, streams, and drinking troughs for animals suitable for the rite. I still witness this act in streams, homes, and lakes around the world today. But, here we usually stick to the indoor, ordained clergy rendition of the act.
I love Legacy Church because several years ago we released followers of Jesus to baptize their friends and family. As we moved to being a church of LifeGroups, we sanctioned baptized, faithful followers of Jesus and any body of water that fits the biblical image of baptism and church family and friends who would hold the person accountable to his or her faith as adequate for the rite of confession and inclusion in the the living body of Christ, the church. That has led to some wonderful stories of friendship and discipleship.
On Christmas Eve Eve this past year, we baptized some long-time friends in our LifeGroup. They had both trusted Christ previously but wanted to be part of Legacy and affirm their trust in Christ together. They also wanted relatives who are missionaries in South Africa to join in their public confession of trust. (Thus the timing of the event.)
A living parable of the universal Church in suburbia USA? It is the church (Christ-followers) in the neighborhood celebrating baptism in the borrowed spa of a neighbor.
Yes, we still baptize in our building. The celebration is usually on fifth Sundays as part of our intergenerational worship times. Would you like to be part of the next one? Let us know if you want to be included. We could even find a spa if we needed to.
You can see more pictures here, and you can hear the complete song here: Arms Open Wide.