One of the things I most miss about being a pastor is baptizing new believers. I don’t believe that baptism saves a person, but the act is nonetheless a powerful picture of the gospel. When I think about these stories from my pastoral ministry, I’m challenged to share the gospel even more so others can share in this joy . . .
- Baptizing 17 people at once. It was my first pastorate, and our little church didn’t have a baptistery – so we baptized once a quarter in a sister church. The first time I ever baptized anyone, we had 17 new believers lined up. That’s still a powerful day in my mind.
- Watching Brian dive head first into the baptistery. He was just a kid, and he was incredibly excited about being baptized. Why walk down the baptistery steps when you can just dive in?
- Baptizing “Pa” in his senior adult years. We weren’t sure if his frail body could handle baptism, but he wanted to be obedient to the Word. With the help of others, we got it done.
- Hearing a mom holler with joy when her long-wayward son was baptized. I admit that I almost dropped him (people didn’t holler at our church), but her joy filled the sanctuary with excitement.
- Watching my younger brother baptize our dad (see the picture above). Dad was 71 when he became a believer, and my brother had not baptized anyone before. It’s hard to describe all the emotions of that great day.
- Being soaked by the hug from the “meanest man you’ll ever meet.” That’s what everybody in the church called this man before God changed him. When God got a hold on him, though, it was real.
- Baptizing an entire family. Mom, Dad, brother, and sister decided together to follow Christ, and I was blessed to be their pastor. All five of us in baptistery at once as I baptized each one made a full pool, but I’d do it exactly the same way again.
- Hearing a young girl sweetly profess her faith in Christ. Her voice was soft, but her heart was genuine. She’s now an adult still walking with God.
- Stepping into frigid cold water and into steaming hot water. I’ve done both. My teeth have chattered as I spoke, and my breath has been taken away by steam rising from the water. The temperature didn’t matter, though – we rejoiced either way.
- Being baptized myself. It happened a long time ago (almost 42 years ago), but I still remember it. It was the same day I received my first Bible. I had no idea then how much the gospel would change my life.
What baptism memories do you have?