Raise your hand if you’re sick to death of clicking on this blog and seeing posts about Church At The Ballpark!
(Oh, that’s right. I can’t see you.)
But I promise, this is the last CatB post. At least until tomorrow. I’m still just scratching my head at what God accomplished and how he was so gracious to allow us to see it happen.
As Pastor J.D. said on his blog last week, the work is just beginning. Campus Pastors and campus staffers are processing through long, long lists of names, making phone calls, sending emails, setting up a time to grab coffee and begin or continue a fruitful discipleship process. We know that it’s not healthy to baptize and run. No, our commitment needs to be to stick it out over the long haul to see the gospel continue to infiltrate the lives of 554 baptized on September 15th, and the 83 more who were baptized last weekend.
I’ve seen our Campus Pastors take all manner of approaches to continue to preach the gospel to those who were baptized. One of my favorites came from our North Durham Campus Pastor, Ryan Doherty. Ryan sent the following letter to everyone from his campus who was baptized at the ballpark. And as good of a reminder as it was for those fresh out of the water, it was just as good a reminder for me, 28 years after my own baptism. I hope this encourages you to remember today.
September 15, 2013
We are so excited that you decided to take the next step in your faith by being baptized. I want you to know that it was my privilege, honor and joy to baptize you and to share this experience with you. I am excited about the work that God is doing in your life and can’t wait to walk this journey of faith alongside you. This is an exciting time in your life in that you got to publicly express before others, that God has saved you and that you are now a follower of Jesus.
I want you to keep this letter as a reminder of the decision you made this past Sunday at the Summit Church. I want your baptism to serve as a “marker” in your life that you can look back to when life gets tough. I want you to read this letter and remember the decision you made to follow Jesus. Especially when the enemy starts whispering doubts about God being good, doubts about God loving you and doubts about your salvation, I want you to be confident that in Christ, there is NOTHING you can do to make God love you anymore than He does right now. And there is NOTHING you have done, can fail to do or will do to make God love you any less than He does right now because of Jesus.
Remember that you shared your decision to follow Christ through baptism in front of thousands of people at the Summit Church because you wanted to be obedient to Christ’s command to be baptized. Remember also that you believed that baptism is not a requirement for salvation, but is an important next step for you as a Christian.
Remember that the waters you were baptized in were only symbolic to what has already happened in your life. This external symbol was showing others what has already happened in your own heart and soul. Remember there was nothing special or magical about this water you were baptized in. Durham’s City water didn’t save you-Jesus did!
Remember your new life as a Christian. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). “For by grace you have been saved though faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Remember the symbolic picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).
Remember that your sins were paid for and you were given hope for eternal life because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Remember that you were completely submerged under the water to show that Jesus’ blood completely covered you from head to toe, removing ALL sin by washing you white as snow.
Remember that when I asked “do you believe that Jesus has done everything necessary to save you” You said, “Yes!” and then when I asked, “Since, Jesus is now Lord of your life, are you willing to do whatever He asks you do to and go wherever He asks you to go?” You said, “Yes!”
Always remember the day you decided to follow Jesus, it was the best decision you could ever make!
I am so proud of you.
The Summit Church|North Durham Campus Pastor