When asked about their baptism people often say they don’t remember, as they were only a few months old when it happened. As for me, I was in the 8th grade. During my confirmation classes I was told I had to be baptized before I could be confirmed. That was the day my life changed and my deep-rooted relationship with God began to grow. I knew from that moment on I would have a place for church in my heart.
I did not grow up in the church nor did I have many family members who even attended church. My grandmother played in the Bell Choir at her church and asked me to attend one of their concerts. While there I met a woman by the name of Pat. She asked why I didn’t attend church. During that time, I lived about 20-25 minutes away from my grandmother’s church and didn’t have a way to get there. As fate would have it not only did Pat live in the same town, but only about two minutes around the corner! She offered to pick me up to attend and sing in the Youth Choir that she was leading. At that point church was so new to me and I knew I had room for a lot of spiritual growth.
When it was time for Confirmation, I needed to find a “sponsor” who would help lead me through the journey, and for me, my Baptism as well. I asked Pat if she would be willing as our relationship had grown over the years. She immediately responded with, “of course.”
When the day arrived, my name was called to go to the altar with my parents (who did not attend church and were divorced) and my Sponsor, to be baptized. When the water was placed on me, even though the congregation remained in their pews, I imagined every hand on me and truly felt God’s presence. It was a reminder that despite differences in opinions and circumstances, we are one in the body of Christ. I felt the love of my family, church family and God that day and knew at that point, life was going to be different for me. All of this happened because one person saw a need to bring a child to church.
Recently I took part in a team building meeting that talked about the influence of AA meetings and how their practices relate to what we should be doing in the life of the church. When you are ready, you make the personal decision to choose your sponsor; someone with whom you have built a rapport during your time, and who is there for you day and night. I can relate so much to that as I also made the personal decision to choose my sponsor of Baptism and Confirmation.
Fast forward 20+ years from the day I met Pat, and her influence continues today. She regularly made sure I attended youth group, retreats and mission trips; helped me with very difficult times throughout life, and celebrated positive times like my graduation, getting married, birthdays, etc. She has encouraged me and still encourages me. Because of her, I have learned how to be a better person, Christian, leader, mentor, and a better husband. She has shown me the importance in being part of the life of the church and in doing the good that needs to be done for the community that we serve.
As humans, we take things for granted. I will never fully know how blessed I am to have the positive influence of my “sponsor.” I owe a lot to her because without her, I most likely would not have continued my life of faith. As you think about the possibility of renewing your Baptism or making the choice to be baptized, think about the one person in your life that you can choose to be your sponsor. Choose wisely, as they will be a lasting influence in your life. Who knows? It may not even be someone you’ve met yet. I encourage you to share your story of baptism and the power of your sponsor below.