Paul Kim is the Asian-American relations consultant with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and pastor emeritus of Antioch Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass.
On the Lord’s Day, March 1, 1981, a new church was inaugurated at a small church building in Albany, Calif., near UC Berkeley.
The small sanctuary was only half-filled with my family of five, friends and visitors — a total of 23 people. Not knowing what to expect as a young pastor, I had prepared everything for the inaugural service, including printing (by faith) 50 Sunday bulletins, setting up refreshments and, of course, preaching the sermon.
On top of that, I included the two biblical ordinances of the church, the Lord’s Supper and baptism. Needless to say, it was a full program.
Moreover, this was my first baptismal service in pastoral ministry. Three college students I had ministered to in Los Angeles wanted me to baptize them at the inaugural worship service.
It was an unforgettable moment. As I waded into the baptistery, I reflected on my own experience of being baptized at Kaumana Drive Baptist Church in Hilo, Hawaii, in October 1972, just a year before going to the mainland to study at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.
During seminary, I had learned about the importance of baptism in the history of Baptists. I had frequently observed the baptismal services led by the late W.A. Criswell at First Baptist Church in Dallas. I could not believe I was now participating in administering this sacred command of Jesus.
As I prepared to immerse the first candidate into the water, I found myself imitating Dr. Criswell’s gentle and gracious manner.
Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press