Yesterday was another night of firsts at Ember. Our first service of 2012. The first week in our series on Mark. And, most importantly, our first baptisms! Let me tell you the story.
Travis Somers came to me a couple months ago saying he wanted to get baptized. We talked about it for a bit, then somebody had the great idea to have our first baptism service on New Year's Day. What better way to start out the new year than to be baptized?
For a long time Travis was the only person who was scheduled to be baptized. We announced it at church several times, and I'm sure I mentioned it online on numerous occasions, as well. But nobody bit, so Travis was it.
On Saturday my son and I went to the church to get the baptistery ready. We turned on the hot water heater, swept out the baptistery, and wiped it down really well. (By "we" I mean "I did all that while Cyrus colored in the kitchen"!)
I returned to the church the next morning to fill up the baptistery with the hot water from the giant water heater. What came out, however, was a brown, mucky, horribly-stinky water-type solution that might have been hot, but was certainly unsuitable for baptizing. In fact, the water smelled so bad the odor set off the toxic gas alarm on the other side of the sanctuary!
Pastor Mark (the pastor of American Baptist Church - Westerville, where we rent space) and I had no idea what to do. We decided the best course of action would be to dump out the stinky brown water-like substance and fill the baptistery with clean, but extremely cold, water. And boy was it ever cold!
I tried boiling large pots of water and dumping them into the baptistery, but that wasn't having any effect. Also, the stove is in the basement, down a really long flight of stairs and clear on the other side of the building. No, thanks. After unsuccessfully searching around town for a sumbersible water heater, I decided that we would just have to suck it up and deal with the frigid temperatures.
About that time I got word from a friend that Becca Lowe also wanted to baptized. Awesome! That's 2! I made sure that both Becca and Travis knew to wear warm clothes.
During the service, I made a call for those who have never been baptized to come forward and be baptized tonight. I didn't expect anyone to come forward because I had been making cracks about the water temperature all night. But Cody Parsons responded! That made 3!
Normally, I would invite each person to go into the baptistery separately, where I would stand with them and ask them a series of questions, which basically amounts to a profession of faith in Christ. This time, however, we took care of all that before getting into the water.
After they each confessed full faith in Christ and submission to him as King, I got into the baptistery (So cold!) with Travis. We both about died from shock. We managed to get through it, though, and I said as loud as I could, "Based on your profession of faith, I know baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." And under he went! It was exhilarating! After Travis came Becca, and after Becca came Cody. We all came out alive, and we've all got a great story to tell of the first baptisms we ever had at Ember Church!