From the Multitude to the Individual

joelby Joel Comiskey

Last week I talked about large cell churches, and many people commented ( check out what they said.). Let’s go from the multitude to the individual.

We moved to our home here in Moreno Valley in June 2001, after living in Latin America for eleven years. We developed a great relationship with our next door neighbors, Ed & Judy Carroll, and their two daughters, Heidi and Jenna. They came over to our house for barbecues and special occasions, and they invited us to their house for special gatherings.  I often asked Ed if he had special prayer requests, and he was very open to share what was going on in his life.

About one year ago, we opened a new Life group in our home on Tuesday night, and I asked the Carroll family to join us. Ed replied, “We can’t make it on Tuesday night, but Heidi would like for you to baptize her.” I said, “I’d love to baptize Heidi, but in our church we have an eight lesson training course called Live for those those want to be baptized. I think it would be a good idea for your entire family to go through it–not just Heidi.” They agreed, and we started meeting at the Carroll house on Thursday night to go through Live.

The first lesson of Live talks about knowing God personally. There’s a prayer at the end to receive Jesus as Savior. I asked them to think about this prayer before our next lesson, and the next time we met together, they all said they had prayed the prayer to receive Jesus. We then continued to the next lesson on God’s Word, then prayer, the Church, lordship of Christ, living in victory, and other themes. For the last lesson we talked about baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Just yesterday, I had the privilege of baptizing Heidi in her own pool. Family and friends were invited. We rejoiced when Heidi came out of the water because she had obeyed God’s Word to express her faith publicly (Matthew 28:19-20). It looks like I’ll continue to take the Caroll family through the next phase of the training series.

It’s great to talk about the large churches, but we must remember that each individual soul is extremely important to God.

Feel free to comment about two things:

1. Testimonies. Share similar testimonies from your own experience.

2. Baptism. What’s the process that you use to prepare individuals for baptism? How long does it take for a person to complete the course? Actually, in the New Testament, people were baptized immediately. Do you practice this or do you ask each baptismal candidate to go through a specific course?

Joel

3 thoughts on “From the Multitude to the Individual

  • Good article! Let me agree that there is often some reason for which to break from the apostolic practice of immediate baptism. Evangelizing a candidate’s family is one of those. Good move!

    That is very different from some traditions that require a year’s probation or make baptism a graduation ceremony after a long course in doctrine and denominational distinctives. After all, baptism is not for good folk nor for informed folk; rather baptism is for bad fold, even ignorant folk, who have repented.

    One preferred practice is to teach during evangelism that repentance will be expressed by baptism which will make a candidate a member of God’s family and of a local fellowship, all at once.

    We do not teach that baptism be some kind of public testimonial to humans but of the candidate’s request to God for a clear conscience (forgiveness of sins).

    • Thanks, Galen, for being the first to respond. The early church time period was certainly unique. The power of the Holy Spirit came down in a very special way. Those early believers felt the liberty to baptize converts immediately. And that’s certainly one way to do it! Yet, when possible, I think it’s important to teach people about the Christian faith before baptism. Balance between waiting too long and baptizing too quickly is critical. . .

  • We try to baptize as soon as possible. I think the greatest picture is cell leaders baptizing those who come to faith through their cell groups. Let the Body be the Body!

    Great story of God’s work in your neighborhood! So glad you had that experience!

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