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It is addictive. There is no known cure. We call it evangelistic adrenalin, or EA for short.
Just last night, Sergio popped over to my house and announced that he is getting baptized. He’ll be number 56 so far at Epikos Church when he takes the plunge on September 8. I’m always excited, humbled, and thankful when anyone decides to follow Jesus, but I am especially stoked about Sergio because he is my son-in-law. How cool is that?!
At Epikos, we have a serious case of EA, and it seems to be spreading. Our first Yay, God! baptism was in February 2009. A dozen of us stood in a circle and cheered while Pastor Sam immersed Debbe in a hot tub. We celebrated with warm hugs and cold desert, and we prayed that the miracle of conversion would spread and infect hundreds and, someday, thousands of people.
The intensity of EA was amped up again last Saturday when Tom was baptized during the 4:00 pm gathering by his son, Michael, who is studying to be a pastor at Multnomah Bible College. This was the first time Michael had performed a baptism and he was unspeakably delighted to immerse his dad (who was number 49). (Yes, it was recorded. We video all of our baptisms so we can enjoy them again and again.)
A couple years ago, Tom and his family were unchurched. They weren’t remotely tempted to visit any church, but they made a dangerous mistake. They received a postcard in the mail, and instead of tossing it in the recycling bin, they allowed the Spirit to prompt them to take a risk and check out Epikos. A few months later, I was honored to baptize Tom’s wife, Bunny, in the Pacific Ocean, as well as their other son, Justin, in icy-cold Horsetail Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.
Jesus gave us a categorical imperative when He said, “Go and make disciples… and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit.” Of course the best way to make that happen is to create healthy, unselfish, growing churches. Epikos is not the greatest church ever (although a bunch of people would beg to differ!); we don’t do everything as well as we should, but we can’t shake the EA addiction. We walk, talk, and pray constantly about the next person. We are proudly obsessed with being faithful to Jesus.
On August 19, an entourage of cars filled with Tina, her four kids, and a gang of supporters from the Epikos family will head west to Proposal Rock on the Oregon coast. Tina, Kaile, Cody, and Kameron will be baptized (all at the same time by four Epikos pastors) and Brody will be dedicated. On the same day, Daniel, one of our tech team volunteers, will do the same. The following Saturday evening, Rena will take the plunge in the Epikos baptistry at the worship center.
It is easy to get hooked on evangelistic adrenalin. Once you’ve experienced even a taste of the signs and wonders described in the book of Acts, you pray for more. For one reason: Jesus came to seek and to save those who were lost. He poured out His life so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
At Mission Catalyst, we are enthusiastic about the mission. We are willing to do whatever it takes to start churches that reach the lost. When you look at the faces of those who have met Jesus in our churches, you hear their stories, and you feel their joy, you decide that it’s worth it.
So here is a question: God is working. What part are you willing to play?
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