Baptism Challenge - Introduction

Welcome to the Baptism Challenge!

Congratulations on becoming a follower of Jesus. I can’t wait to share in your baptism preparation and journey!

What is baptism, and why is it important? 

For centuries, Christians have practiced dipping people in water (or pouring or sprinkling water on them in some cases), as a way to symbolize the cleansing, reviving work of salvation.

 

This might seem like an odd tradition. Why baptism? What does it mean? Why is it important?

 

This study will give you those answers, and a lot more. In this intro, I'm not going to dive into all the content we'll be covering, but the next several days will give you a series of reasons why baptism is important, so you'll understand what baptism means and why it is a key and valuable moment for your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

 

Why do I need to study before my baptism?

In the Bible, the book of Acts tells the story of Christians who were baptized immediately after believing. But the earliest Christians after the book of Acts quickly moved away from immediate baptism and started introducing a waiting period of training for new Christians, who were called "catachumens," or people who were being cataechized, or trained in Christianity. 

 

Basically, because of the extreme respect they had for the ceremony, they started requiring Christians to study for a time before being baptized.

They studied:

  • What baptism meant

  • What Christians believed

  • What kind of life they were committing to live

This Baptism Challenge is in that tradition.

It’s my hope that by the time you have finished this study, you will:

  • Understand why baptism is important and what it symbolizes

  • Have a grasp of some basic Christian doctrines

  • Be ready to share your Gospel testimony with others

 

Why do I have to share a testimony at my baptism?

So your pastor may have shared with you that he’d like you to publicly share your testimony of salvation with others at your Baptism Sunday, either live or on video. If you’re like some people, that might freak you out.

Don’t let it!

 

In this Baptism Challenge, we’ll be taking time to let you start writing a testimony, thinking through how you can share the story of how Jesus has impacted your life with others.

 

Jesus gave us the mission of our lives and of our churches in Matthew 28:19, when he said “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”

 

Your story, what God has done for you in salvation, is one of the most vital tools you have in pointing people toward Jesus… in making other disciples! This is your opportunity to create that story, write it out, and start sharing it!

 

I hope you’ll make that a habit for the rest of your life.

 

So what is each day of the Baptism Challenge like?

Each day, you can scan a QR code or type in a link, which will take you directly to a web page for that day’s challenge.

Here’s how the daily experience goes:

  • A daily passage from the Bible, with a 2-minute video teaching from Pastor Eric Going

  • A daily challenge (a practical way you can respond)

  • A 1-2 minute prayer time

  • A discussion question you can ask your mentor

Mentorship: A Big Success Hint for New Christians

You need a mentor. Christianity is a team sport. It’s not a solo event. There’s just no place for a Lone Ranger style Christian life, where you single-handedly face every challenge and conquer every problem.

The truth is that if you want to succeed as a Christian, you need others who will walk with you.  A mentor is someone more experienced and further along in their Christian walk than you are, who can be a voice of advice and encouragement as you walk with Jesus. It could be a pastor, or someone at a local church. 

How to find a Christian mentor: 

  • If you're not already part of a church, start regularly attending one.

  • Contact someone at your church and ask if they would be a mentor for you.

  • Ask if you can contact them regularly with questions about your faith.

  • Set yourself a reminder or alarm on your phone, so being in contact with other Christians can become a habit.

This is so important, that you’ll see regular reminders in the Baptism Challenge pages to contact your mentor… or to get one if you haven’t already!

So how do you start forming this new habit of spending time growing your life with Jesus?

How to Start a New Quiet Time Habit

Christians need to spend time regularly reading the Bible, and speaking with God in prayer. 

It might seem intimidating to start a brand new time with God each day. But you can do it, I'm confident. Here is a short process that will help you get something established.

1. Decide when to have your quiet time with God:

I’d recommend mornings, but sometimes lunch break or your commute, or just before bed works better for some people. Find a time slot that attaches to something you already do… maybe head for work 15 minutes early, and sit in the parking lot for your quiet time. 

 

2. Decide where to have your quiet time with God:

Distraction is the enemy of quiet time with God.  You’ll need a place that’s relatively free from interruption & distraction.  Shut off the TV or radio, put your phone on silent, take a deep breath, and prepare to just be with God.

3. Gather what you’ll need to have your quiet time with God:

I’d recommend an NIV or ESV Study Bible (or something similar), a good pen, and your NewStart Discipleship notebook, or something else to write on. 

4. Decide How to have your quiet time with God:

I’d encourage you to get alone, take a deep breath, smile, and say “Thanks, God for this chance to meet with You. Use Your Word to speak to me today.  I’m ready to listen.”  Then, just dive in.

If you’ll do this same habit daily, here’s what you’ll discover:

  • It might be tough at first.  Maybe you won’t be sure what to say when you pray, or a Scripture won’t make sense.  That’s OK. Just focus on what you do understand.  It will get easier.

  • It will grow your spiritual life and change you – sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.

  • You’ll get the most out of it, if you actually use the tool.  Write down something, even if it seems simple or basic. 

  • You’re building new habits, some new superhighways in your brain for new thoughts about God to travel on.  Enjoy!

Yours for your spiritual growth,

Darrell L. Stetler II