“We don’t have a baptismal tank at the church,” said Steve Brown, the pastor of the fellowship, “and I don’t expect we ever will. We’ve done all our baptisms outdoors and in public since we started performing them, and I think it helps send the message that baptism is intended to convey.”
According to Brown, baptism is not a requirement for salvation, but rather is an act of obedience by someone who has accepted Christ as their Lord. “Baptism is an outward act that reflects the inward change that happens when someone is reborn spiritually,” he said. “The biblical mandate is to repent and be baptized. The bible makes it pretty clear that putting your faith in Jesus is what saves you. The act of baptism is symbolically identifying with His death, burial, and resurrection. It is a way of showing that the old you is dead and buried, and you have been made new in Christ.”
Eight people were baptized at the lake on Sunday, while about 50 more watched from the beach. The congregation met for their regular morning service at the church, and then many of them traveled to the park to watch the event. They weren’t the only spectators, though. A small number of people were already there enjoying the park and beach before the church members arrived, and a few were swimming nearby.
“I think it’s great other people were there,” said Brown, “and we certainly don’t try to take over the beach when baptize here. In the early church there were no altar calls, and the public profession of faith was done via baptism at the local body of water. We look at baptism as a milestone – a time that we identified with Christ in front of God and everybody. We hope that anyone watching who isn’t familiar with baptism and what it represents will ask about what we are doing. We look for opportunities to talk to people about the forgiveness we have found.”
Lincoln Christian Fellowship started as home bible study in 2003. The group moved to the Ballard Hill Community Center when they outgrew the home they were meeting in, and then purchased the old Riverside Rental building in 2005 as the church continued to expand. You can find more information about the church on their website at www.lincolncf.com, and can hear Pastor Steve on WJCX 99.5 weekdays at 4:30pm. A gallery of photos from the baptism is available on the church’s Facebook page.