Preteen -

‘You have this opportunity - make the memory.’ —

By Jason Dean

It was 7 a.m. and Lake Michigan was about 60 degrees. As I stood in the water, waves as high as three feet crashed against me. It wasn’t ideal baptizing water conditions, but memorable to say the least for my firstborn to rise into a new life with Christ.

This moment happened 12 years ago. My family had traveled with me on the CIY MOVE tour that summer – my wife, Wendy; our eldest, Jessica, 8; and our two boys were 5 and 2. I was serving as an assistant director for the event in Michigan. And during one of Jayson French’s sermons that week, the Lord spoke to my daughter.

 

At that point in time, Jessie was a student at a Christian school that provided a booklet for students to understand baptism. She’s always been mature for her age, but Wendy and I were surprised how much she connected to the high school level teaching that summer.

 

She looked at us and said, “I really feel like I want to give my life to Christ and get baptized … but I’m not done with the booklet yet.”

 

It was a great moment for Wendy and me to tell her that faith isn’t about a booklet, it’s about knowing when you’re ready. And she was.

 

I asked French when the pool opened that day – and more jokingly if he thought going to Lake Michigan would be too grandiose. I’ll never forget his encouragement: “You have this opportunity – make the memory.”

 

The next morning we woke up early and drove to the lake. Jessie and I stepped out into the waves and it took our breath away. I picked her up every time a wave came in so she could answer my questions – both of our teeth chattering the entire time. I timed the wave and baptized her as it crashed over her.

 

It was absolutely freezing – and one of my favorite baptisms ever.

 

It’s really neat to be able to share your faith and walk with Christ with your family. It’s been one of the highlights of parenthood for me to be able to take the kids God has given me and guide them to see their walk with Him. Wendy and I tried to always make sure our kids have great teaching, and to be there to answer their questions. Baptism was a fruition of that with our daughter. To see her growing in faith and develop a love for people has been a tremendous blessing.

 

Today, she’s a very wise young woman and has made some smart choices. She’s currently pursuing a degree in her sophomore year at Missouri State University. She’s a staff member at Campus Christian House at the university and she knows the Church is her people.

 

I hope she never misses an opportunity to make more memories in her walk with Christ. 

 

Jason Dean has been the IT director for Christ In Youth for 13 years. He has also baptized his sons, Ryan, 17, and Nathan, 14, and performed a rededication baptism for his wife, Wendy. His email is Jason.dean@ciy.com.