This Sunday, I'm getting baptized at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, perhaps with hundreds of other church-going participants. I am super excited to be a part of this experience, and there are a few questions I want to address here for friends, family and acquaintances who are interested in learning more about my choice to take part in the experience of adult baptism:
1) Weren't you baptized already?
Yes, I was baptized as a baby in a Presbyterian church in St. Louis, Missouri, but, I wanted to "own" my faith as an adult, and getting baptized now, at my church, is how I'm going to do it.
2) You've been going to a Lutheran church in Minneapolis since you were 12. Doesn't that mean you got "confirmed" there? (here's a link to what confirmation means in the Lutheran church)
Most of my friends, and my younger sister, were "confirmed" in the ELCA church my family attended when we moved to Minneapolis in 1999. My twin sister and I had a unique situation, however - my family moved from St. Louis to Minneapolis when I was in 7th grade, right in the middle of my ELCA church's confirmation curriculum. Their statement? "Your daughter can't join in the middle of the confirmation class - she's already missed half the curriculum."
I didn't think it was a big deal to skip confirmation at the time, but, looking back now, it probably would have been beneficial for me and my faith walk to go through that process. It might not have kept me from making the mistakes I did as a young adult in college, but, anyway, everything happens for a reason and I guess you could say my adult baptism is making up for lost time - the process of repentance leading up to my immersion Sunday has been super refreshing for me in a lot of different ways.
3) So, what's the big deal? You've been a Christian all your life, and you even went to Wheaton College, the "Harvard of Evangelical Universities" - so, why the heck are you getting baptized now?
I was baptized in the Presbyterian church as an infant, but simply went through the motions of faith until I attended the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2011. I realized there that the relationships I was involved with at the time and choices I was making within them were toxic and destructive, and decided to surrender my heart and life to Christ in a way I had never experienced before. As I left the conference, I felt like I was coming alive - I decided to pursue the love and light of Christ with everything I had, and as a result, left behind the toxic relationships and choices I had been making for the entirety of my college career. The only thing I cared about now was knowing Christ, and being known by Him. This desire led me to create a "new" life founded in Christ, surrounded by fellow believers, and as I have come alive in Christ, I have found that my relationships with family and friends have never been stronger. It turns out faith isn't boring at all - it's actually an adventure and a journey I never knew before January 2011. I am choosing to get baptized this weekend to declare to the world that I have chosen to put to death all of my sinful and selfish desires and would like to come to life wholly and completely in Christ for the rest of my days - AND THAT'S AWESOME!!! As it states in Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
4) Can I come watch?
YES!!! Willow Creek's lake baptism ceremony is a HUGE deal for the church. Some years, hundreds of people are baptized in Willow's on-campus "lake." There is a large lawn (pictured above) where people lay out towels, bring lunches, etc. and get together to celebrate the sacrament of baptism together. If you want to come watch me, and others, get baptized, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or just show up at Willow Creek around 1 p.m. Sunday and I'll see you there! Willow Creek Baptism Registration
5) Can I get baptized too?
YES!!! You don't have to be a member of Willow Creek to be baptized Sunday, but you do have to be ready to publicly proclaim Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. If you're ready to take the plunge, you can register here - let me know if you do, and we can celebrate together on Sunday!
And now, a song from my favorite Christian rock band, Needtobreathe. It's called "Washed by the Water" - enjoy!