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Huntsville youth actively discipling, celebrate with 13 lake baptismscomment (0)

August 15, 2013

By Grace Thornton

Huntsville youth actively discipling, celebrate with 13 lake baptisms

On a recent Wednesday night, more than 250 people trodded down the well-worn dirt path from Mount Zion Baptist Church, Huntsville, to the banks of Vaughn Lake.

Almost just as worn is the path to faith in Christ among the church’s students and their friends, according to Britton Latham, Mount Zion’s student minister.

“Our students do a great job of reaching their friends,” Latham said. “When we’re in a worship service for students, there would be four or five generations of believers, meaning that students who grew up coming to Mount Zion would bring their friends, who would get plugged in and bring their friends, who would get plugged in and bring their friends and on and on.”

That type of disciple making is just “part of our culture” in Mount Zion’s student ministry, called Greenhouse, he said.

Latham baptized 13 students in the lake Aug. 7 after a “laid-back” service on the banks that spoke to the importance of baptism.

“Most of the students’ families showed up — for some of them, it was their first time on our campus,” he said. “And it was great for our church family to see the fruit of pouring into our student ministry — great to see what God’s been doing in their lives.”

A lot of the friends that students bring to Greenhouse come from a background where getting to church on Sundays is difficult to do, Latham said.

So the church decided to have the baptisms on a Wednesday night at the lake to make it more accessible for them to “follow through with baptism,” he said.

It’s something new for the church.

Mount Zion held its first lake baptism recently when a man in the church who had been putting off baptism for 20 years asked to be baptized in the lake.

It worked well for him and also for the students, who were “excited to get to celebrate with their friends,” Latham said. “They were on board and excited about getting to make their faith public.” 

Some of the students who were baptized had been Christians for two years. Others had been followers of Christ for only a week or two.

But Ron Madison, pastor of Mount Zion, said they are already walking solidly in their new faith and making an impact on others.

“Many of these students are already making a difference in the lives of their friends as they bear testimony of their relationship with Jesus and the difference He has made in their lives,” Madison said.

One of those students is 13-year-old Grace Chapman, who made a decision to follow Jesus during Centrifuge camp July 18.

Already Christ has made a big difference in her life, Chapman said, and she’s excited to share that with others. The lake was merely the beginning of that.

“It was really interesting to get to be baptized in the lake rather than inside the walls of the church,” Chapman said. “I think that was something special to all of us.”

God is doing “great stuff” through the students, Latham said.

“It’s been so good to see students intentionally reaching out. For me and the leaders, we’re just trying to hang on and keep equipping a generation of students.”

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