We’re going on four weeks of not being able to gather together. The baptistery on our campus is empty. No water. No people. Dry as a bone. The good news is that it’s clean. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe our entire building has been more clean than it is right now. Though I would advise against it, you could eat off the floor and it would probably be more sanitary than off a plate straight out of the dishwasher.
But I digress.
The baptistery at The Church at West Franklin
is empty. No water stirring. No people walking in or out. No towels ready to help dry off another redeemed life. It’s sad. Looking at the pictures above, I imagine the baptistery yelling at us, “It’s not supposed to be like this! I wasn’t made to be empty!” I don’t like it. I’m guessing you don’t either.
But let’s be real for a second. Come in here real close, okay?
Would it be full if we were gathering? Would our baptistery have water in it, ripples in it, towels around it if we were still meeting weekly? If we were assembling together, would the baptistery be hearing hands clapping after it offered us the whoosh of another body coming out of the water? If we met this coming Sunday (Palm Sunday), would our baptistery be doing what it was put there to do?
Let’s continue being real. I know I said for a second, but hang with me. . .
This week we are moving into the fourth month in 2020. The baptistery at The Church at West Franklin
has witnessed 1 baptism since the end of 2019.
And that baptism, as glorious and wonderful and remarkable as it was to experience, was of a child growing up in a Christian home in a family very active at our church.
I take NOTHING away from that and celebrate it BIG TIME. But do you see? We aren’t baptizing people who aren’t “one of ours.” We aren’t seeing those on the “outside” come to faith in Jesus.
Church family, I LOVE the fact that we are, indeed, a family. I hear it all the time from people who are drawn to our church. I have experienced this in deeper ways during the whole COVID-19 pandemic. We take care of each other. We love each other. We want to be together and we hate it when we aren’t. We pray for each other and make sure others know and are praying. I love that.
But West Franklin – if that is all we are – we aren’t a church.
Do you remember why a small group of people wanted to start a church on the West side of Franklin in the early 2000’s?
To see people come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Why do I share all of this with you, now, in the midst of this seemingly 4,000 year quarantine we are in? Because I want you to pray. I want you to process. I want you to consider. I want you to evaluate. I want you to do some business. I want us to come back – whenever that is – different.
I don’t want the main reason we gather to be because we want to care for one another. I want us to care for one another because the priority is joining God in being a part of bringing others to Jesus. In other words, I want us to care for one another because we are busy giving our lives to seeing the kingdom come in Franklin as it is in heaven.
So, would you pray and process these things with me?
- That the Father would reveal to us where we have made secondary things the main thing.
- That the Father would adjust our minds and hearts, giving us a passion and longing to see the lost in and around Franklin come to Christ.
- That the Father would allow you to baptize a new believer you led to Christ.
- That the Father would give you His mind and heart and imagination to engage the lost during this bizarre season.
- That the Father would open doors of opportunities for you to share what His Son has done.
- For The Church at West Franklin to constantly be celebrating the lost becoming saved – each and every Sunday.
- For you to take personal, individual ownership in engaging the whole person with the whole Gospel.
- That The Church at West Franklin would be a true church. That we maintain our identity as a body, but be prompted and motivated by seeing His kingdom come.
I’m tired of an empty baptistery. I am guessing you are too. It’s not because Jesus is too weak to save. Perhaps it’s because we have lost sight of what this thing is all about. Maybe even forgotten that He is, indeed, powerful enough to save even the “worst of the worst.”
Help us, Jesus. Make us who YOU want us to be. Do whatever it takes.
Amen, and amen.