Bringing Beach Baptism Back to Africa
Pastor Tobbias Ngala still remembers the long car ride to the beach, the cold Atlantic waters, the Caribbean-style music, and the barbecue from Summit's April 2014 Beach Baptism. “It was great to see a church that is passionate about making Christ followers,” he recalls. “It felt to me that baptism was understood and respected more than I have known it in my culture. I loved Summit’s community, and for a church that big, it was amazing to see people take community seriously.”
Pastor Tobbias is the pastor at Trinity Chapel Mombasa, a church plant of Nairobi Chapel in Kenya. Nairobi Chapel is one of Summit's global ministry partners, and their mission is to strengthen local churches in Africa as well as to plant key churches in countries like Ethiopia and Malawi. After attending a Summit Beach Baptism, Pastor Tobbias knew that he wanted to bring the tradition back to Trinity Chapel Mombasa.
“We are a church on a beach property,” he explains, “yet we had never thought of it as a possible baptism place… God had just opened my eye to a resource next to our gates. It felt like the Ethiopian eunuch saying, ‘Here’s water, what keeps me from being baptized?’”
So on June 29th, 2014, Trinity Chapel Mombasa hosted their first ever Beach Baptism in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. Thirteen people from their 100-person congregation were baptized.
Pastor Tobbias tells the story:
“After our regular two-hour morning service that ends at noon, we asked the participants to change into comfortable clothing for baptism and asked the church to follow the pastors and the team being baptized into the waters. Because it was a low tide hour, the waters had receded about half a kilometer away, so the church walked in to try and catch the deep waters. We waded in like the children of Israel in the Red Sea, or the Jordan, to the deep waters, and the ‘party’ began. All I can say to describe the day is: It was full of amazing life. I will live to remember that day, and I will do it often.
The experience is priceless, we will definitely do it again, and it is part of our yearly calendar events. We have two baptisms in a year; the next one comes on November 23rd, 2014. We would love to do it more often, because it is a place to publicly declare our love and faith in Christ, and it helps in strengthening the community and reminds the church of the faith we profess. I congratulate everyone who has been baptized at Summit. Your waters were cold; I really don’t know how you did it, but I know you love Jesus so much that the warmth He brings to your hearts gives you courage to take on the waters.”
If you’d like to be baptized at Beach Baptism this Sunday, October 19th, it’s not too late! Find all the details and registration at summitconnect.org. On-site registration (for adults only) will also be available at the beach.
Guest blogger Sarah Joseph is a contributor to the Summit blog, SUMMIT MAGAZINE, and our Sermon Study Guides.