Erik Fish brought a fresh word on Evangelism to the everyone at Student CPx: Concentrate in Las Vegas in 2009. Enjoy…
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During Student CPx we focus very heavily on the Great Commission, and the importance of EVERY BELIEVER realizing those last words of Jesus before he went to heaven are for them, TOO. Part of the GC teaches every believer to Baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We teach that these Baptisms can be fuel for the movement of the Gospel, but it’s very important to ask a few questions about Baptism:
1) Who is DOING the Baptizing?
2) When is the Baptizing taking place after a decision is made?
3) Where is the Baptizing taking place?
We always teach that the DISCIPLER should, if possible, also BE THE BAPTIZER. It should, if possible, be done as soon as possible after someone makes a public profession of faith. We hope and pray that unbelievers would be present to watch the Baptism, & do our best to be strategic about where/when in order to make that possible. We have found that it will almost never occur in a traditional Baptismal, but a fountain, pool, stream, creek, lake, bathtub, or whatever happens to be available.
After teaching through this section at SCPx we watched as students began to realize that they had been believers for a long time, but never Baptized anyone. They weren’t upset, though. They became excited to see it begin to happen in their lives. One of the students began to weep as she shared about her Baptism experience, which occurred at a young age. She described a very impersonal, mundane Baptism by a guy she never knew. Sound familiar? We encouraged her that her Baptism was completely “legitimate”, & that the Lord was pleased with her heart. She knew that, and was not doubting her faith/salvation. She communicated that she had a desire to be Baptized in a very powerful, and celebratory way among a spiritual family whom she had grown to trust and love. Another girl spoke up and said she had a similar experience…
The students started discussing things like, “are we allowed to be Baptized twice?”, and “If we do it this time does that mean the first time didn’t count?”, etc. – (please know that this did not result in anyone doubting their salvation in Christ & eternity in heaven with Him)
I shared with the students that I would hope we would all “pray the prayer” EVERY SINGLE day, committing our lives to Christ, repenting of our sins, claiming Jesus as Lord, etc. I also posed the question: What would be wrong with “BEING BAPTIZED” every single day!? (Declaring the death of ourselves, and new life we have in Christ, that we are washed clean of our sin, etc.) Someone yelled, “we could just Baptize ourselves in the shower every day!” I am not submitting that we should or must all get Baptized everyday, or Baptize ourselves every day. I am simply saying that someone who has been Baptized at a young age in a very impersonal way should be free to declare that new life in a celebratory way to those they are walking in Spiritual Family with. I cannot think of a reason why it would be a bad thing to declare that symbolic, life transformational act on a regular basis…
We walked down to the creek that runs through the middle of UT’s campus. It was dark, and the water was about knee deep. Two girls waded through the water, and were Baptized by two other girls. It was powerful, and all four girls were deeply impacted for life. A group of UT students with head lamps on came our way wading through the creek-they were hunting water snakes in the creek for a class assignment. They said studies showed that there were an average of 1 snake every 8 meters in this creek. Snakes! Mixed with Baptisms! What incredible symbolism. The two doing the Baptizing felt the freedom to start doing this new act, which they had never done before, many more times. The two who got Baptized were released to go and do the same. It was a powerful experience for everyone involved.
Courtney Baptizing Jessie (on left) Sarah Baptizing Sabrina (on right)
We have extended registration for Student CPx – Austin!
You don’t want to miss this powerful 10 day hands-on simple church planter’s training. You’ll get to spend time with seasoned practitioners like Neil Cole, Tony & Felicity Dale, Brian Orme, and many more! The cost for the entire 10 days is just $250. Austin locals can receive a $50+ discount for opening up their home to host one of the simple churches! Register NOW!
I hope to see you all there. The Student CPx family is an ever-growing family of kingdom minded campus/simple church planters who are spread out all over the country. It’s been a good family to be a part of in the past year. Look forward to new members joining the family this summer…
This past Sunday evening was beautiful, and refreshing for me and Morgan. We were in Ft. Worth visiting family, taking care of business, working, etc. We got to hook up with our old simple church community on Sunday night for their weekly worship gathering. It was SO encouraging to see what the Lord has been doing through them over the past year and half since we’ve moved. Reconnecting with them to pray, worship, and seek the kingdom was extremely rejuvenating…not to mention how encouraging it was to see a room FULL of new faces who we’d never met before…
Before we moved from Ft. Worth I had thrown out the idea of seeing new communities birthed out of ours-multiplication. However, it just didn’t seem to be the right “timing”. So, we moved, and the issue wasn’t discussed much more. I found out a few months back that a group of the “adults” from that community had branched off to start a new one…I believe they refer to it as “I.G.O.F.” (Intentional Gatherings Old Folks) or something like that. That was encouraging to hear. Then, this past Sunday night Keri’s dad, Bob Crowell, shared a word he had received from the Lord. He said that the Lord was telling them that they were going to multiply, and see new communities started out of that one. My heart lept for joy as I realized that the Lord, in His timing, and through His Spirit was doing what He wanted to do. The rest of us in the room got excited, and I listened as several others began to beg the Lord for wisdom/discernment/guidance in how to go about seeing new disciples made and new communities started. I could do nothing but PRAISE CHRIST for His sovereignty. Pray for the I.G. Ft. Worth community, that they pursue the Lord, and see multiplication…
***Oh, they Baptized Ioana, who has been a part of the community for quite some time now, a couple months ago in a Hotel Lobby Fountain the week after several of them had been in Las Vegas for Student CPx. I thought that was pretty rad. They also Baptized a guy in the front yard a couple weeks ago who’s now become a “part of the family”. LEGIT***
“I praise you Christ for your activity in our lives, and the lives of our dear friends in Ft. Worth. May you continue to rock our worlds in supernatural ways. Have your way Lord!”
As promised, here is the video from the Baptisms that took place at Student CPx in Vegas. They are powerful. Please feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments section.
Other videos from CPx will be posted throughout the next few weeks. Stay tuned for teachings from Neil Cole, Brian Orme, Pam Arlund, Erik Fish, and more…
In Austin there are some students at UT who are committed to seeing the Gospel spread in a simple/reproducible way that brings light to darkness and life the death. They are determined to learn new, and fresh ways of living out their purpose as the ecclesia in the their city. This has been modeled for us in overseas missions for years, and it would behoove us to learn from these movements.
We must stop practicing evangelism through extraction in our attempts to fill and grow our current institutional churches. Do some people find home in these churches? Absolutely. Will these alone serve as a conduit for the Gospel to spread rapidly throughout the states, infiltrating the darkest places in our culture? Of course not. In our current mindset we are beginning to see many outwardly focused institutional faith communities, which is a beautiful thing. However, even these leave us with only one option if we actually do go into a dark place to reach that area with the Gospel. (Which is very rare for an individual believer, or group of believers to do. We are typically too busy with our “church friends & activities”, and uncomfortable with sin and darkness to do so). That option is to extract a person out of their current circles of influence in order “save them”, and then “church them”. There are many con’s to this form of practice, which I hope to dissect more in the future. So, not only does it remove the new disciple from the places in their lives that they have the most influence, but it also creates a bitterness in the minds of those who remain in that former circle. Those who remain behind are confused as to where their friend has gone, and are now resentful towards the Christian who “stole their friend”.
I am convinced that we must start equipping and empowering believers to take the Gospel into dark places, and plant Gospel roots deeply there. This means that NEW communities/church bodies must take root/birth in that place. This is much different from extracting people from one place, and giving them no outlet to grow other than an “established church”, which is far removed from their previous circles. For this to happen we must have Spiritual Fathers, current Christian leaders, and current local churches who will begin to release apostolic leaders into these cracks of society by legitimizing the birth of new communities of faith that will multiply, and flourish naturally.
The key here is that believers must be affirmed, equipped, and empowered by current “Christian leaders” through acknowledging these new communities as legitimate local churches. A freeing realization I have recently stumbled upon is the fact that in order to begin legitimizing these new communities of faith does NOT necessarily mean we need to DE-legitimize the former. (I believe that many pastors have walls built up towards organic expressions of church because those practicing simple church have sought to DE-legitimize what those pastors are doing. I am guilty of this. This makes it impossible to function healthily as the body of Christ)
May we truly begin to respect one another, and work together as the body of Christ, realizing that none of us can reach EVERYONE apart from the other. In the name of Jesus may we begin to recognize apostolic leaders, and release them to start new communities of faith in un-reached areas. I wonder what would happen if we started recognizing the apostolic call in people’s lives as much as we recognize people’s “call” to “lead worship” on a stage or “teach” an existing body of believers. The focus here is making new disciples, and not simply trying to protect or sustain the only thing we know. Young leaders: be affirmed, be released, be encouraged, and be set free to fulfill the great commission.
I am believing God to raise up Spiritual Fathers to affirm you in your pursuit. However, do not allow the lack of approval, affirmation, and legitimization from current “Christian leaders” hinder you from pursuing what God has instructed for you to do.
It has been eight months since Intentional Gathering’s first permanent presence in Las Vegas. It has been quite the ride. We have seen the Lord do some amazing things. He has taught us much. He has begun forming some beautiful Gospel Centered Biblical Communities here in the city, and used I.G. Vegas to influence to birth of new “missional communities” in other parts of the country. Over the past eight months we have been continuously reminded of some of the core principles we learned at the birth of our journey of that began two years ago in Texas…
1) If we EVER think we have “it” figured out then we have fallen victim to pride, & self-righteousness. We will soon lose all ability to hear from the Holy Spirit, and the ability make proper changes in order to stay effective in our pursuit of seeing the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth.
2) Every “missional community” IS, and MUST BE different. There is NO formula. Gospel Centered Community centered around mission MUST happen naturally, and cannot be forced.
3) We must not spend precious time, energy, and efforts trying to rally believers around our “cause”, “model”, or “way of doing things”. We MUST pursue making disciples, and adding NEW believers to the Body of Christ in order to grow the Kingdom of God. As we pursue making NEW disciples Christ will grow His Church. Amen.
Here’s a quick video of some things that have happened over the past eight months in Vegas, and some upcoming opportunities we have as an organization…