By: Heather Abenti, Communications and Immersion Groups
Acts 2 was an exciting time. The church was growing. The Holy Spirit came down to be the Helper Jesus had promised (John 14:26, 16:7). The people were quite literally on fire for God (Acts 2:3-4)! People were repenting and being baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39).
You might think that with all this excitement, all this repenting and baptizing, that the leaders would sit back and be satisfied in the exponential growth of their church. That the leaders could take a break or kick it into auto-pilot since clearly just preaching to the people was enough to grow the numbers of the church.
But you would be wrong.
The leaders of the church in Acts 2 didn’t sit back and congratulate themselves on their big numbers. They didn’t tell everyone that as long as they came to a Sunday service, it was enough. They didn’t boast about making a list of the fastest growing or largest churches. They understood that the conversion and baptism experience was only the BEGINNING of the faith journey and not the end.
Before we go any further, we need to define a few words that are important to understanding the Acts 2 journey.
Salvation: the process of repenting, believing in Jesus, and becoming more like Him until we are perfected in Heaven. This happens in three distinct stages.
Justification: the moment of salvation where we have repented of our sins and been forgiven and justified before God.
Sanctification: the process of becoming more like Christ while we are here on Earth.
Glorification: the moment that we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus in Heaven and stand before Him in our glorified heavenly bodies.
A pastor friend once told me that if justification and baptism were the only goal, we would all die and be taken straight to Heaven in glorification at that moment. But we don’t. We are left here even after our justification. Why? Because salvation is not just a one-time justification. And it isn’t just glorification in Heaven. It is also sanctification.
Let me say that word again – sanctification. This is the work of salvation about which Paul wrote to the Philippians (Philippians 2:12). And the leaders of the church in Acts 2 had a plan for how people would work out their salvation – regularly meeting in small groups!
Acts 2:42-47 tells us that believers met together in two places: the temple courts (church) and homes (small groups). And in these small groups it wasn’t just a mini version of church. They ate together, they prayed, and they did life together (called “fellowship” in the Bible).
At Watermark, we call these small groups “Immersion Groups.” And beginning Sunday 8/28 you will have the opportunity to sign up to be part of an Immersion Group. Options include groups for men, groups for women, open groups, groups that go deeper into the sermon topics, groups that focus on accountability, groups that study a specific curriculum, groups that are open for families, groups that are just for adults, and even a group for students (A shout-out to all the Tsunami students!).
After service on Sunday, we will have Immersion Group Leaders and Volunteer Crew Leaders available so that you can sign up to be part of a small group or volunteer team. Take the plunge and dive deeper!
H2O is the children’s ministry of Watermark Church. Lauren Cooper guides the H2O Crew of youth and adult volunteers as they love on and present the Bible to Watermark kids birth-5th grade. Lauren believes strongly that children’s ministry is not just a babysitting service and her team brings the Bible alive at an age-appropriate level to Watermark kids every week, starting with Genesis, through games, songs, and crafts. Lauren says, “H2O kids are journeying through the Bible. With school starting shortly we have taken a detour into Ephesians 6 to talk about how the children can use the armor of God during their time at school. I want the children to know that learning God’s word is fun!”
Each week, one youth and at least one adult volunteer miss the sermon to teach our kids about Jesus. The good news is that we are now filming the teaching each week, so volunteers can go back and watch it. There really is no excuse not to get involved with H2O Kids anymore!
If you would like to volunteer with H2O, email H2O@watermarkchurchnc.org or fill out the form below.
(Youth volunteers must be 6th grade and older. All volunteers may be subjected to an application process and background check, to ensure our kids safety.)
Meet Shawna Houle. You will see Shawna’s smiling face all around Watermark and most Sundays she can be found greeting people as we all come in for service. Shawna is married to Russ, the Set-Up/Tear-Down Crew Leader, and they have three daughters. Next time you see Shawna, introduce yourself and thank her for all she does for Watermark! #WeAreWatermarkChurchNC
Meet Bob Emmons. Bob volunteers regularly on the Set-Up/Tear-Down Crew. Bob is married to Lauren, whose position in the Coast Guard brought them to the area. Next time you see Bob, introduce yourself and thank him for all he does for Watermark. #WeAreWatermarkChurchNC
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 was an especially important day in the life of seven Watermark
people. That evening, these seven people publicly declared their faith in Jesus by being baptized! They stood before Watermark church, their friends and family, (and a number of strangers who stopped their walks on the beach to watch), and professed their belief that they are sinners who can never live up to God’s standard of holiness; that Jesus is the Son of God, who lived a sinless life yet paid the penalty for our sins, rose from the dead, and offers eternal life to all who believe in Him!
If you would like to find out more about a relationship with Jesus, check out this page: A Relationship with Jesus.
You can find out more about Watermark Church NC by visiting www.watermarkchurchnc.org.