On 16 July 2023 at Parkes Baptist Church, Matt was baptised by his pastor, Matthew Kennedy. Below is Matt’s story.
I’ve been a Christian for 13 years, so I’m a little late to the whole baptism thing. I was sitting in afternoon church about a month ago when the communion cups were going round doing some navel gazing. Usually I’d just let it go by or politely decline. This time I had intended to do the same but for some reason it seemed sillier than usual. After so long I had fully expected to be a functional Christian by now, to attend church with a degree of enthusiasm, to meaningfully contribute (though whatever that meant would always change week on week) and have a mix of trusted friends and awkward associates in the church who kept calling me “brother”. Instead, I was still asking the same question I always was.
Does God really want me around?
So just like everyone else I’m not entirely normal. My particular brand of not normal is shaped by a lifetime of depression and I’m pretty terrible with people in general, Christians included. Throw in a series of bad church experiences and stir until you end up with a mess.
God saved me when I was in a worse mess. How I got there and the specifics of that are the subject of a long story but the important bit is that God wasn’t bothered by that. Being baptised is in part to accept his assessment of me rather than my own. It also acknowledges that He has and will continue to be with me even as I discover both the worst in myself and the worst in other people.
What comes after baptism? That would be a brutal southerly gale through an open window. Afterwards though, I do not hope for some kind of self-improvement streak – the same sort of thing I had been waiting for up until now. My hope is to stop mirroring the wicked servant from Matthew 25:14-30; there’s a parable from Jesus where three guys get different amounts from their boss and they go and use it as they see fit but the last guy buries it in the ground. And he buries it in the ground because he was afraid, He’s told himself that the boss expects the impossible from him and so he decides it is better that he does nothing at all. When the boss comes back he digs it up again and tries to hide his embarrassment. Sitting in a pew wondering if I am really accepted by God (again) is about as useful as that and the only reason I’m in that spot was because I thought I had to be the right kind of Christian. I was waiting for the right kind of Christian to happen.
God is not expecting the impossible. He’s done the impossible. He raised Jesus back to life. No more silly arguments or waiting for something more, let’s get baptised.
People responding to the game changing news of Jesus is at the heart of the Gen1K vision and our ‘why’ as Baptists, which is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, sign and deed, together. As we head towards National Baptism Week on the 15-22nd October, there are a few things we want to share with you! Visit https://nswactbaptists.org.au/national-baptism-week-2023/ to find out more.