What happened when 1 pastor designed a service around baptism

July 29, 2021

Phil Goble Jr. didn’t like how baptism was often tacked onto the end of a worship service, so he decided to do something different.

“Baptism is more than just being dunked and sat on a pew,” said Goble, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Hayesville. “It is a public declaration of your trust in Jesus.”

After praying and thinking through his dissatisfaction with how baptism had been presented in the past, Goble dedicated a recent Sunday morning service to highlighting the importance of baptism and its connection to the Great Commission.

Two new church attendees had recently come to Christ and were going to be baptized that Sunday. Rather than add their baptisms to the end of the service, Goble intentionally made baptism the focal point of the service through prayer and planning.

During his message, Goble stressed how baptism is the public proclamation of one’s decision to follow Christ. It marks the beginning of a life transformed and is a picture of the gospel that represents identifying with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

“When we trust God and follow where He leads, He works in amazing ways.”

Goble stressed that in the Great Commission, Christians are called to go and make disciples. Goble also emphasized that baptism isn’t just for the person in the tub. It’s for the rest of us, as well.

“It was a charge to the congregation that we have a responsibility to disciple and surround this new believer,” Goble said. “Our job as Christians doesn’t stop the moment we’re baptized. We must continue to walk in faith.”

Goble said there’s a temptation for baptism to become mundane in many churches, but it shouldn’t be.

“Christ died so that we may be new,” Goble said. “That’s something worth focusing on. When we focus on the reason for baptism, great things can happen.”

And on the day Goble decided to put the power of the gospel on display in a service focused on baptism, he saw God move in an unexpected way. Through the proclamation of the gospel through baptism, a young man who had been attending church regularly came to faith in Christ and will be baptized soon.

Goble hopes to see God move in similar ways through the statewide “Fill the Tank’‘ baptism emphasis on Sunday, Sept. 12. Goble’s church is among those across the state that have committed to fill their baptistry and trust God to see people come to know Christ and publicly profess Christ through baptism that day.

“When we trust God and follow where He leads, He works in amazing ways,” Goble said.

by Elizabeth Upshaw  /  BSCNC Communications

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