By Dick Duerksen
The McMinnville Adventist Christian School (MACS) along with its four constituent churches, have taken the “Together as One” concept to heart. So much so, that last Friday evening’s celebration beautifully represented what can happen when congregations, pastors, and communities fully adopt a school, and create a new family for Jesus.
Friday night all four congregations and a large group of community supporters packed the school auditorium to “fire code maximum,” for a delicious dinner and a brief program of music and Scripture. Then came the dessert: four pastors wading into an above-ground swimming pool, and baptizing 14 MACS students.
MACS is a school where the pastors are an integral part of the school day. Each pastor spends at least one day a week at the school – teaching Bible classes, leading worships, playing volleyball and floor hockey, and generally being part of the teaching staff. Because they’re around so much, the students know them as “good friends and counselors” rather than just as the man who preaches on Sabbath.
“Being at the school so often has even changed how I preach sermons,” says Pastor Jerry Joubert of the McMinnville congregation. Now I use many more illustrations and tell more stories so the kids can be part of worship.”
The baptisms went on “forever!” And no one left. Before each baptism, the pastor asked the student’s family and friends to stand. Then, the family was given a microphone and the pastor asked what they would like to say.
“This is the one day I have waited for the past 12 years,” one father said. Then he choked up and handed the mike to Mom. “We’ve saved money, driven old cars, worked late at night, and given everything so our daughter can have this kind of education. Tonight we are so proud!!!”
“One day in class,” says 3rd-5th grade teacher Verlaine Linrud, “I asked if any of my students would like to be baptized. I was overwhelmed when nearly all hands went up. And now, after more Bible studies with the pastors, we are having this party with God tonight! I am so happy!”