In May our church plant celebrated our second baptism service, baptizing two men as well as my son.
In addition to our regular attenders, friends and family to support those being baptized, and some of our Charlestown neighbors even came to watch out of sheer curiosity, having never seen an immersion baptism.
An Encounter with the Holy Spirit
Three of our guests that day were our sons’ best friends and their father. Raised Roman Catholic in an Irish family, this man is as Bostonian as they come.
After the baptism and prayers for each new believer, my friend cornered me.
He asked me bluntly, “JD, after you pulled each one of them out of the water, did you feel that wind move by you?”
He teared up and showed me the chills on his arms, continuing, “I know what the wind feels like, and that was more than wind. It went by me every time you baptized someone.”
I shared with him that I believed it was God’s Spirit making His presence known and, in love, trying to get this man’s attention. He told me about his disillusionment with religion and all of the baggage that comes with it. I shared the Gospel, and he shared more of his spiritual story.
The Power of Believers’ Baptism
I believe believers’ baptism is the most powerful witness we have to our communities. Going down then coming out of the water paints a picture of death to the old man, new life in Christ, becoming part of a faith family and so much more.
Even more powerfully, believers’ baptism is a declaration of war, as we plant a flag in the ground of our lives and communities to state boldly that King Jesus is reclaiming what is rightfully His.
Before that Sunday, I don’t know that God was on my friend’s radar. But I can confidently say this: My friend is on God’s radar. God desires that the Wind that moved past him would actually come and live in him, giving him new life in Christ. In love, the Lord was trying to get his attention that Sunday.
May we keep preaching the Truth with our words and actions. May we see salvation after salvation and celebrate baptism after baptism. May our lives and churches be marked by the inexplicable Wind of the Spirit, manifest with Pentecost power, so friends and neighbors would sense His power in and among us and be drawn to salvation. And may our next baptism at Christ Church Charlestown be my friend’s baptism.
JD Mangrum is the church planting pastor of Christ Church Charlestown in Charlestown, MA.