Baptism is a big deal.
It's a bigger deal, I think, than the average evangelical thinks it is. It's not an afterthought. It's not a glorified seal-the-deal-on-becoming-a-Christian type handshake. And it's not a mere formality. It's being buried with JESUS, only to be raised from the dead! The Bible says we are "buried with Him in Baptism, raised to walk in newness of life."
With that said, I have to say I'm often grieved by the way we do baptisms at Antioch. They're most often done at the beginning of a service, while late-comers (including myself sometimes!) are still filing into the sanctuary. Often times while the baptism is being administered, you can hear the low hum of idle chatter emanating from the back of the sanctuary, where the aforementioned dawdlers are still greeting friends and attempting to procure seating before worship begins.
I'd rather see baptisms not happen at all on a typical Sunday morning, until we have a dozen or more people ready to be baptized, and then make the baptisms the centerpiece of a special service. It's too big of a deal to not be taken seriously.
Baptism is a big deal.
It looks like our fellowship is in the middle of a theological paradigm shift, and I don't think that's an overstatement.
Since I started reading church history religiously in 2004, I've lamented the fact that certain branches of the Protestant tree tend to ignore the Lord's Supper. Our non-denominational Antioch stems from a Baptist background, and at most Baptist churches I've encountered, Communion is only observed on average once a quarter. It seems the leadership at Antioch is planning on delving into the Lord's Supper with more consistency.
Nate Bobbett delivered the message and spent some time talking about how the church throughout history has viewed the Lord's Supper. With regard to how often the meal should be taken, he quoted the Didache, Tertullian (I think), Augustine, Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli. He even covered transubstantiation, consubstantiation, and other views with regard to whether the elements are literally the body and blood of our Lord or not. What's Antioch's view? I don't know. His explanation seemed ambiguous to me. I think what he communicated was that the elements are "somehow" the body and blood, but didn't seem to go so far as to say they are literally His body and blood.
It's going to be interesting to see how all of this works out practically. I am liking this new emphasis, though.
Looks like we're headed inexorably toward a new building. That's a good thing. Jimmy said he thinks God wants us to prepare for 5,000 people on Sunday mornings, so I think that would mean a 2,500 seat sanctuary and two Sunday services.
I think Antioch is officially a "megachurch," but one of the things that's great about it is that it has a small, intimate feel to it. (Of course, many in the shoulder to shoulder herd at the 10:15 service probably wouldn't agree with me.)
Should know something in January about a new building project. Personally, I hope we don't have to buy Autozone to get it done. It's nice having an auto parts store practically on our campus. :-)