With the diversity of backgrounds in our community at Rivertree, the topic of baptism periodically comes up during our Discover Lunch, baptism services or as new families connect with our church.  Having experienced a "believer's baptism" is also part of our membership process.  So, what is baptism?  What does it mean, and why do we practice it?
What is baptism?
Baptism is a beautiful and important aspect of Christian devotion and outward display of a commitment to Christ.  The practice of baptism in the New Testament was administered only to those who made a profession of faith in Jesus.  This is what we mean by "believer's baptism", that the person getting baptized believes that "Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead" (Romans 10:9).  People in the New Testament were baptized by being immersed or put completely under water and brought back up.  The Greek word baptizo means "to plunge, dip or immerse" something in water.  So, this is how we practice baptism at Rivertree- by immersion.
What does baptism mean?
There are several different meanings, symbols and things of which we are reminded when we think about baptism.  First, it is an act of obedience to Jesus' command and follows his example.  Jesus himself was baptized and instructed his disciples to baptize those who would come to faith after his ascension in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Baptism is also a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Baptism represents death of our old man and our new life in Christ.  So, baptism is also a symbol of what God has accomplished in the life of a believer through the cleansing of sin.  Baptism is a symbol of the spiritual change that God has worked in our lives, the transition from spiritual and eternal death to spiritual and eternal life.  It is moving from hopelessness into hopefulness, from darkness into light, and from slavery to sin to freedom in Christ.  In baptism, we symbolically express our acceptance of death with Christ, putting an end to our old way of life and rising with Christ to begin a new kind of life in Him.  In doing so, baptism expresses our new identity in Christ.
Why do we still practice baptism?
Baptism is a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ.  In baptism, we express, with our whole body, our heart’s acceptance of Christ’s Lordship.  Becoming a Christian involves the body as well as the heart.  In conversion, the heart is freed from sin to be enslaved to God.  Since the Lordship of Christ lays claim to our whole body, it is fitting for us to express our surrender to His Lordship with our whole body.  Baptism gives expression to the fact that we belong to God and that we are part of his body, the church.  We still practice baptism because Jesus taught that it is part of discipleship, it gives believers the opportunity to publicly declare faith in Christ, and it edifies the entire church when they hear the story of the one getting baptized and witness his or her faith in Jesus.

If you are interested in talking more about baptism, please select one of the age appropriate buttons below.

Songs for Sunday, February 5

Looking forward to worship tomorrow as we celebrate the Lord's Supper together.  As you go about the day today, use the playlist above to begin worshiping through the songs for our gathering tomorrow.  Come ready to celebrate God's coming near through Jesus.

Here's what we're singing:

"Your Love Awakens Me" by Phil Wickham from "Children Of God"
"Jesus Son Of God" by Chris Tomlin from "Burning Lights"
"What a Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship from "Let There Be Light"
"Boldly I Approach" by Rend Collective from "The Art Of Celebration"

Student Ministry During Fall Break

Student Ministry During Fall Break

Fall Break Schedule: No Engage for high school Oct 2 or 9 and no Wednesday small groups Oct 5.

Songs for Sunday, August 28

Ross and Justin will be sharing about why we "Go" in order to help one another know Jesus by sharing the Gospel and our lives.  We'll also be celebrating baptism.

Use the playlist above to begin worshiping through the songs for tomorrow, and come ready to rejoice in the One who has rescued us!

"Jesus" - Chris Tomlin from the single "Jesus"
"Ever Be" - Bethel Music from the album "We Will Not Be Shaken"
"The Saving One" - Starfield from the album "The Saving One"

Worship One/Serve One

When we opened the doors to Rivertree Church on Taylor Road almost six years ago, we began with two services from the beginning.  We wanted to give everyone who was here the opportunity to be a part of the worship gathering.  We knew from past experiences that not everyone would have the opportunity to join us for worship each week if we only had one service because they could potentially be serving in another area of ministry that day.

We believe that it is important to engage in worship with the family of God each week.  We have opportunity to exalt, praise, thank, adore and express love to the God who has rescued and adopted us through Jesus’ saving work on the cross.  It’s a time to engage and a time to be encouraged and connected.

We also believe it’s important to serve this family of which we are a part.  We express hospitality to newcomers and folks who call Rivertree home.  We care for and teach children, students and adults.  We lead the family of God in worship.  We do all of this every Sunday, so everyone has the opportunity to worship and serve the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-27).

And here we are almost six years later worshiping and serving together across four weekly worship gatherings.  Last year we gave this idea a name.  Worship One, Serve One.  In the coming weeks, you’ll hear more about why we believe this is so important and how you can get involved if you aren’t already.  

You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about the ministries in which you serve on Sundays during a very special lunch on June 26.  It’s a chance to explore a ministry in which you might be interested, ask questions and even see where you’re gifted if you’re not sure.

I lead the worship and creative arts ministry at Rivertree.  Our role in Worship One, Serve One looks a little different because we serve in all of our services on the weeks we’re scheduled.  We jokingly call it Worship Three/Serve Three.  If you’re interested in the worship and creative arts ministry, I would love to see you at lunch on the 26th.

Regardless of where you’re gifted, I encourage you to pray and see how you might Worship One and Serve One at Rivertree!