In honor of its 25th anniversary, Community Christian Church of Naperville will baptise as many people as it can this weekend at all 14 of its locations.
“An important part of what we do is go back to the Bible and practice what we see in scripture,” said Pastor Jon Ferguson about the worship practice at Community. “One thing people do in the Bible is become baptized.
“It’s a public way of putting a stake in the ground and drawing a line in the sand and saying in front of family and friends, ‘I want to follow Jesus. It’s a celebration. A party where they say, ‘yes, this is what we want to be about.’”
Pastor Dave Ferguson said the church was started out of concern about the statistic that about 92 percent of Americans believe in God, yet less than 18 percent attend church. He, his wife, Sue, and his brother Jon Ferguson noted the major disconnect shown by those numbers. Twenty-five years ago, they founded Community Christian Church of Naperville with that mind.
“We wanted to create a church for that 74 percent of the population who are interested in spirituality and a connection with God, but haven’t found a church that is accessible or desirable,” Dave Ferguson said.
Community’s mission became: “Helping people find their way back to God.” Now, there are between 11,000 and 12,000 people who consider one of the 14 locations of Community Christian Church to be their spiritual home.
Community Christian Church sites will each host baptisms during their weekend worship services Saturday and Sunday. The immersion component of baptism is “a symbolic washing away of sins or the past, and a way of starting brand new,” Dave Ferguson said.
Performing the baptisms will be people who have been significant spiritual influencers in the participants’ lives.
“Not just pastors or priests performed the baptisms in the Bible. It could be anybody who was a believer or had an impact or influence on their lives,” Dave Ferguson said. “The baptisms will be a joyous celebration. People will be cheering and clapping. The whole experience will be tremendously inspiring.”
Although people are encouraged to sign up for baptism ahead of time, the pastor said he expects some attendees at worship services will be inspired to join in. He estimated that hundreds of people will become baptized over the course of the weekend.
“We need these special moments” said Pastor Jon Ferguson. “Our 25th anniversary gives us a great opportunity to encourage people to go public with their faith and express, in a real and visible way, what our vision is.”