Today’s guest post comes from our Cary Campus Student Director, Josh Joyner. Last week, Josh saw four middle school students baptized at his campus, and we’re praying for more!
When was the last time you wept in thanks to God for His faithfulness? For me, it was this last week. See, God is doing something amazing among students, and we’ve gotten to witness a number of middle school students “go public” with their faith in baptism.
For our church, we get to celebrate together seeing these students declare publicly what they have already decided privately. But the greatest joy for me was in the opportunity I have had to counsel these students prior to baptism. Which brings up a needed point.
We need to be taking careful consideration in how we counsel our students who wish to be baptized. Us carefully encouraging them in this situation shows them (1) our excitement for their decision, (2) the seriousness of their decision, (3) the implications of their decision. For some students, this may be the first time they see how seriously they care about their faith. What an awesome opportunity.
The joy that came, and that moved me intellectually as well as emotionally, was in talking to our students who wished to be baptized. The students I met with had carefully considered their faith, and saw baptism as the natural next step in obedience. But as I began to talk to them, it was clear that God was doing major things in them.
Our students were deeply concerned about their sanctification. They want to be more like Jesus. In fact, many of them were timid in their faith because they are discouraged over their sin. It wasn’t shame or guilt, but rather simply discouragement. This brings up another point.
We need to teach students how to repent and mourn sin in their lives. Until death do us part, we will battle against sin. But our students need to see in us and hear from us that this is part of how God is shaping us into the image of his Son. Even more than that, our students, like the church who received John’s first epistle, need to hear that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 ESV)
To put it simply, our students need our church! Encourage them. Challenge them. Walk along side them. You will both love Jesus more because of it.