Well friends, it's another week which means it's time for another blog! I'll try to make this one a little shorter than the last several posts (no promises though) but that doesn't mean it's going to be any less important. In fact, I would say it's the second most important decision a new believer can make after surrendering their lives to Christ; baptism.
Yes, baptism is a ritual but we in CoMission believe it to be more than just that. We believe that it publicly symbolizes a new believer's decision to follow Christ; a decision to die to their old life of sin and be born to a new life that honors God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said it best when he answered Nicodemus's question, "How can a man be born when he is old?..." Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which so born of the Spirit is spirit.'" (John 3:4-6)
When a student is ready to consider baptism (this usually happens after they have gone through a 6-week Seeker Study), we go through a document with him/her that covers all the bases of the subject. It's vital to make sure the student understands why (s)he is getting baptized and it's also beneficial to ensure the student is willing to commit to this new way of life in following Jesus wholeheartedly. Naturally, this includes getting out of their comfort zones to make disciples and bring more students to Christ. The baptism document that we take our students through covers the following statements.
Finally, document answers all the necessary "why," "who" and "when" questions, such as who can be baptized, why one should be baptized and when one can be baptized (we prefer as soon as possible because why not?). It also covers basic questions such as what should be worn for a baptism and what takes place during a baptism. I could include every nitty, gritty detail but for the sake of time, I'll just share a button that's linked to our document so you can indulge your curiosity if you so desire. Also, for the sake of credibility, the information provided on the last two documents were referenced out of a book titled, Saturate written by Jeff Vanderstelt who is a teaching pastor in Washington. I haven't read the book myself but it's on the list.
While I believe this week's discussion was appropriate for following last week's post about making disciples, the main reason I wanted to share about baptism is because we currently have a student who is considering the cost of following Jesus. He has been going through a Seeker Study with one of our staff and student leaders and will soon be taken through the baptism document. How did he come to this point in his life? By witnessing the baptism of another student four weeks before classes started! This student's name is Gabby (pictured in the middle) and she had been seeking God for some time, even before ReLynn (pictured right) and I took her through a Seeker Study. One evening, we went through the baptism document with her and she immediately expressed a genuine excitement for taking this next step. Hours later, at our weekly beach gathering, we baptized her. Now, she's getting connected into a DNA group where she will learn how to make disciples herself. Seeing students who express a desire, not only to just accept Jesus as their Savior but to devotedly follow him by sharing the gospel with even more students, is such a joy and worth every ounce of personal, relational investment.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you..." Matthew 28:19-20