By Paige K Slighter
Do you remember the story of Philip baptizing the Ethiopian man in Acts 8:36-40? After hearing the good news about Jesus, the man asked, “What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” Philip answered, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The Ethiopian replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So they went down to the water and Philip baptized him.
Did you know that as Christ’s disciples, we are all equipped to baptize our fellow brothers and sisters, just like Philip did with the Ethiopian? In fact, in Matthew 28:18-20, after Jesus rose from the dead, he instructed us to do so in the Great Commission. He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
So, what does it look like to baptize someone? Or, what is it like to be baptized? Erika and Nicole, both members of a Woodland Hills Sojourners House Church, share their special baptism story.
Nicole (The Baptizee)
“It’s ok to feel nervous. You won’t know until you ask.”
Nicole had been baptized as an infant, but never as an adult. She’d been a Christian for a while before she made the decision. At first, she felt a little weird about it. She thought, “Why didn’t I do it before?” But in the end, she knew the timing was right. She said, “When God puts a hook in your heart, just go with it.”
When she was trying to decide who would baptize her, she prayed about it and felt like Erika would be a good choice. Erika and her husband Paul hosted a house church in their home. Nicole remembered back to her first time attending Sojourners and how welcoming Erika and Paul had been. Nicole said, “She made such a deep impression on me and played a big role in my story.” As time went on, they grew closer. Though she was nervous about asking, in the end, she had nothing to worry about.
Nicole’s baptism was a joyous celebration. She said, “It was personal and intimate, while public. I was letting my community know my identity in Christ.” Nicole was able to share the old things she was dying to and the new things she was embracing. She said, “The immersion in the water was so significant. We’re dying with Christ and being raised with him.”
Erika (The Baptizer)
“Baptism is a membership into the best family ever!”
Erika had no problem saying yes to Nicole’s baptism request. She said, “As believers, we are called to do that for our brothers and sisters. John the Baptist baptized Jesus.” She felt honored to participate in such a special experience. She said, “It felt natural because we were so close.” For those looking for someone to baptize them, Erika suggests, “Find someone you feel comfortable with. Someone who will celebrate with you.”
When it came to the actual baptism, Erika didn’t feel pressure to “have all of it right.” She prayed about it and asked God to lead the way. He even supplied her with some verses of scripture to share during the ceremony. Erika prayed Ephesians 2:10 over Nicole. She said, “You are God’s masterpiece. He has created you anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things he has planned for you.”
What does it mean to be baptized? Erika said, “You are accepted when you don’t feel accepted. Beautiful when you don’t feel beautiful. Loved when you feel unlovable. Even with your flaws, you are embraced.”
We are deeply encouraged by Nicole and Erika’s baptism story, and we hope it inspires others to baptize and be baptized. And it just so happens that we have a series of three baptism classes coming up soon! If you’re thinking about being baptized, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn more. We’ll also provide more background and information for people who want to help baptize others. You can learn all about the classes right here.