This past weekend, our church celebrated a MISSION weekend. That’s “Mission” as opposed to “missions”. What’s the difference? Borrowing from Christopher Wright’s seminal work, The Mission of God, “missions” is what we do to carry out the Mission of God. God’s Mission is to reconcile the world to himself and to extend his glory to all peoples even to the ends of the earth. When we hear the word “missions”, most of us think about traveling to some far off country to share the gospel with people who are “less fortunate” than us. (Missions is FAR more than that misconception, but we’ll leave that for another post!)
So this weekend, we celebrated God’s Mission to save souls and resurrect lives by baptizing 18 people. Ranging from middle school to more “seasoned” adults, Gracers shared their personal story of meeting Jesus. Then each person declared their belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
We didn’t call it baptism weekend because we believe that the baptisms are the fruit of the fruit of God’s command to be about His mission.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Each Gracer invited another person to join them on stage and next to the baptism tank. God has put us SIDE by SIDE with each other for the purpose of knowing Christ and making him known. Each Gracer had someone who was side by side with them: parent(s), discipler, small group leader, or friend. The picture reinforced the idea that no one comes to the water on their own.
We thought it would also be fun to draw the church together under #dunked, so we had t-shirts printed with that simple phrase. Our hope is that as everyone who participated in the baptisms wears the shirt, it will spark conversation and that God will use the shirt to open up a conversation about their story and the story of the gospel.
Apparently (and to no surprise), we aren’t the only ones who are thinking about how to use the shirt to start a conversation about Jesus. Several people have asked about purchasing a shirt for that very purpose. I LOVE HOW GOD IS RAISING IN US A HEART FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW JESUS!
Our response has been this: you can have a shirt for free as God uses you SIDE by SIDE to see someone come to Christ and come to the water at the next baptism! In plain language, you don’t buy this shirt; you earn it (as you participate in the work building disciples).
I know that some of you will read that and be put off because it could distort our motives to see people come to Christ. Believe me when I say that’s not ever our intent. We don’t share the good news of Jesus to get some notches on our belt or earn points. We do it out of our sheer joy in Him. And while I know that people will do just about anything for a shirt (ask any college student), if that’s all it takes to see our people obedient to Jesus’ command to make disciples, then we’ll make shirts and give them away like Halloween candy.
If you’re a Gracer, then you are a co-laborer in the gospel. Join us in the Mission – earn the shirt! And here’s the thing: as you pray, share, love, serve – doing whatever you can to win souls for Christ, I promise you that you’ll get something far better than any shirt.