Huddling in the narrow hallway of a NYC apartment, I stood on my tiptoes to see into the bathroom at the end of the hall. A group of people stood in front of me, all smiling and all straining to get a good view. Just beyond them, sitting in the tub, was Zhen*, a Chinese national that had just come to faith. Beside her on the floor, her Bible study leader, Carol*. Small tears slipped down Carol’s face as she spoke with Zhen right before she baptized her.
After Zhen professed her faith and Carol dunked her in the bath water, the crowd in the hallway (myself included) erupted into cheers. Zhen stood up in the tub, greeted by hugs and words of encouragement by our small, house church community.
For many people who were baptized in a traditional church or a slightly less urban environment (like I was), this scene may surprise you. But for me, as I attend a house church in New York, this has become a frequent (yet still exciting) experience. Every year, members of the Bridge Church welcome new believers into the Body of Christ through baptisms in their homes. Because of limited space in the city, often these baptisms need to happen in bathtubs or kiddie pools!
Zhen is one of many students who has accepted Christ through Discovery Bible Studies lead by Bridge participants. For these Bridge Church goers, evangelism, outreach and church multiplication (growth) has become an essential part of their lives. Carol, a stay-at-home mother of four, was not sure if she would be able to do any significant outreach when she first moved to the city. However, with encouragement from members of her house church, and the support of her husband, she was able to lead a Bible Study this spring (resulting in the baptism above)!
I share this story to encourage people. The Body of Christ is expanding rapidly, and in unconventional ways. Stay-at-home moms, full-time business people, and all other sorts are ministering and spreading the gospel. People are being baptized in bathtubs and small church gatherings that meet in homes are multiplying in urban neighborhoods. God is on the move and we are excited that He’s adding to His Body here in NYC!
Interested in learning more about House Church? See the ‘House Churches” section on our website.