Becoming an Acts 2 Church

By: Heather Abenti, Communications and Immersion Groups

Acts 2_42Acts 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!


Ministry Spotlight: H2O Kids

h20 kids logo dark colorsH2O 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 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.)

Immersion Groups

By: Jonathan Abenti, Connections and Immersion Groups Crew Leader

Immersion groups with tagThis fall kicks off a new season at Watermark. We will be starting Immersion Groups! We have been getting questions about Immersion Groups so here are the answers to what a lot of people have been asking.

What is an Immersion Group?  Every church has their own name for groups…Life Groups, Cell Groups, Small Groups, Growth Groups… at Watermark we call our groups Immersion Groups.  That’s it. Nothing strange. Just a place to come together during the week to eat, support each other, and study the Bible.

Why the Immersion Groups name?  We chose the name Immersion Groups for several reasons. First, if you hadn’t noticed, Watermark kind of has a water-theme going. Tsunami Students, H2O Kids, etc. and Immersion certainly fits that theme. Second, the definition of Immersion – going deeper, being deeply engaged or involved. That is what we pray Immersion Groups will help us do – Dive deeper into God’s word and into relationships with others!

Why should I join an Immersion Group?  First of all, church can be big and overwhelming. Even in a smaller church, there are 60-80 people there every Sunday. Do you know them all? Do you feel connected to them all? Likely, the answer is no. But in an Immersion Group you can get to know 11 other people and make connections that just aren’t possible on Sunday morning.

Second, Jesus is our example and He was in a small group! Small groups are not an invention of the modern church. Jesus selected 12 men to be His small group. We call Jesus’ small group “disciples” or “apostles.” (Your Immersion Group at Watermark might be called “Deeper, ” “Authentic Men,” or some other catchy name.) He spent time teaching them, eating with them, praying with and for them, and in general, just hanging out and “doing life” together. Your Immersion Group is who you call when something is wrong and you need help. They are who you call when something is right and you want to celebrate. They challenge you to dive deeper into the Bible. They pray for and with you. Just like Jesus did with His small group.

Third, we need to connect with God and each other more often than just Sundays at church. Sunday morning, especially in a church that is portable, does not always lend itself to the best questions and conversations. It can be hard to connect with someone who is rushing in and out of the door carrying heavy trusses or other equipment. Immersion Groups give us the chance to grow deeper relationships with other believers. Immersion Groups also help us grow closer to God by exploring His word in a way that just can’t be done on a Sunday morning. Can you ask questions during a sermon or worship song? Can you share your story about how a particular topic or passage of Scripture affected you? Likely, if you are only attending Sunday morning church, the answer is no. But in an Immersion Group, working together we can figure out the answers to our questions and share our stories to encourage others.

Does the Bible talk about Immersion Groups? While the name “Immersion Groups” isn’t specifically found in the Bible, God does have a lot to say about small groups, regularly meeting together, and building each other up. You can find a selection of Bible passages relating to small groups by clicking here.

How to I get connected to an Immersion Group? There are several ways to get connected to an Immersion Group! First, go to the website and click “Connect” in the menu. From there you can click the Immersion Groups icon and get more information about groups. (A list of fall Immersion Groups is coming soon!)

Second, after service find me (Jonathan Abenti) in the lobby and I will help you get connected to a group, volunteer crew, or any other ministry of Watermark.

Third, hang out after service on 8/28 or 9/4 for our “Dive Deeper” event. This will be an opportunity to find out more about Immersion Groups and Volunteer Crews at Watermark. Leaders will be around to answer questions and you will be able to sign up for an Immersion Group for the fall.

If you have other questions about Immersion Groups, please visit the Immersion Groups page of the website and send me a message via the contact form. I will do my best to answer all your questions. I hope to see you in an Immersion Group at Watermark this fall!