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Sola Church Celebrates Baptism
By Amber Cassady
Centennial, Colo.- “It was the difference between going to a place called church and actually being the Church,” Josh Thomas said. Thomas described his faith journey at Sola Church before being baptized on Sunday, July 22.
Thomas was not the only man to demonstrate obedience through baptism that morning. Cameron Schwehr shared his heart change that occurred leading to his baptism. “Once I got more into the Bible and started coming to Sola Church, I was just convicted of being born again and what that meant.”
The morning began with worship. Lead pastor, Chad Mondragon, spoke of baptism’s symbolism: death to self and resurrection to new life. He emphasized Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice that will eternally be the way that God deals with humanity’s sin.
“It is not the baptismal water that saves you,” shared Mondragon. “It doesn’t make you clean. Baptism doesn’t represent cleansing. It represents death like the story of Noah and the flood. It is an appeal to God through the resurrection of Jesus.”
“Baptism is 50% for those watching too,” Mondragon told his congregation. He presented four ways of how witnessing baptism can impact believers: creates gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, reminds people that life is not always roses, renews interest in Christ and reveals the necessity for all people to know Jesus.
After the sermon, the congregation moved from the storefront gathering room to the parking lot. Thomas and Schwehr shared their testimonies before being baptized by Mondragon.
Thomas had been baptized at a young age. He did not fully understand what it meant to follow Jesus. During Thomas’s freshman year in college, God magnified himself and became more real in his life. He has followed Jesus since. As a symbol of his new found, deeper relationship with Christ, he was baptized on July 22.
Schwehr, on the other hand, had never been baptized by immersion. He grew up in the Catholic faith. While listening to Mondragon’s teaching at Sola Church and studying God’s Word, he realized there was more to baptism than what he had been taught. He became convicted of the real meaning of being born again in Christ. “Once I began to read the Bible, all the old pleasures I engaged in paled in comparison,” said Schwehr.
Following the baptisms, communion symbolizing Jesus’ broken body and shed blood was offered to those who gathered. The worship band acoustically played hymns and praise songs that created an attitude of grateful response. Mondragon concluded the service by leading everyone in a benediction. A potluck lunch added to the baptism celebration.
Sola Church, a Southern Baptist church plant, began in April 2012. It is also affiliated with the Acts 29 Network, a church plant mobilization effort and support system. Mark Driscol of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington founded the Acts 29 Network. Mackenzie Jones, a new member of Sola Church, attended another Acts 29 church in her hometown. She says,”I love how missional and Gospel-centered [Sola Church] is. Really seeing community has been great. Everyone shares everything.”
Mondragon, who grew up in Littleton, Colorado, began this church along with his wife and a core group of families. They have a heart to equip believers to share who Jesus is with their friends, neighbors and associates. Multiple block parties hosted by Sola Church, have givien members the opportunity to invite friends and neighbors. Mondragon says that the heart of Sola Church is lived out in its missional communities. These small groups meet throughout the week. Individuals can connect with other believers he said, and grapple with how to apply the Gospel in their daily lives.
Sola church meets Sundays at 10:30 a.m. in a storefront located on 8030 S Holly Street. Visit their website, www.solachurch.org, for more information.
Pictured: above right- Thomas's baptism by Mondragon and an elder. bottom left- Schwehr as he is lifted from the baptismal pool borrowed from The Summit Church.
Photo credit: Amber Cassady
Amber Cassady is the missional correspondent for Colorado Baptists this summer and is a senior communication and journalism student at Texas A&M University. Claudean Boatman also contributed to this article.