Business and Baptism: Annual Meeting Makes a Splash for Oklahoma Congregation
By Carl Stagner
Sometimes Robert’s Rules of Order can take a back seat. That’s not at all to suggest that this year’s annual business meeting at Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City was out of line or out of order in any way, shape, or form. But formal procedures, policies, and plans shouldn’t hinder the work of the Holy Spirit, nor should they preclude worship and celebration. Though most churches reserve the ordinance of baptism for the Sunday morning experience, the OKC congregation seized the opportunity to demonstrate that the business of the church is God’s business. After fifteen people were baptized amid the usual reports and budget presentations, it was crystal clear that God’s business is washing away the old and ushering in the new.
“Every year we make celebrating what God’s done in the past year a big part of our business meeting,” Pastor Steve Chiles explains. “We’ve done it with testimonies, worship, videos, and slide shows. When we realized we had a number of people who were wanting to be baptized, we made that the big focus. The point we were making was that this was a business meeting, and reaching people for Christ is the business we are in! This is the first year we’ve ever done baptism as a part of the business meeting, and it was fantastic! Because we do make the annual business meeting a time of celebration, we always get a good turn out, but this year the sanctuary was packed. We were surprised with how many baptisms we had since we had just baptized nineteen in April!”
Much good has been accomplished in the name of Jesus over the past year at Shartel Church of God. It’s no wonder the church is predisposed to celebration. Life change is a huge part of what they’re about, and looking back at the year, Pastor Steve feels extraordinarily blessed.
“I can’t tell you how humbled I am to be the senior pastor here,” he reflects. “This past year has been absolutely amazing. God has been moving our people to pray and give and step up in ways that have blown my mind. Sometimes, as I walk and pray in the sanctuary, I just laugh with amazement at the incredible God we serve.”
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.