You're Longing to Be Baptized

You're Longing to Be Baptized

What I learned from an ex-gang-member.



I recently had my mind blown talking to a friend who left gang-life upon encountering the Gospel.

He said the most profound thing.

He told me how much baptism made sense after growing up in gang culture. Because, in a gang you’re initiated through a crime or fighting. It’s a mark of your permanent inclusion into the family. He said he noticed in the Church you’re initiated too. You’re initiated by being immersed, not in evil, but in the renewing waters of baptism. He realized the Church is the better fulfillment of what the human heart longs for in a gang.

As my friend spoke I realized how important baptism is.



Initiation is actually something we’re all longing for. It’s a celebration of commitment, new birth, a new family, and a new reality. From the gang member to the business person, we’re all longing for a baptismal moment in our lives.

The first day of marriage is this explosion of celebration we call a wedding. On New Year’s Eve we throw parties across the world. On the day a baby is born, the whole family gathers to hold her, laugh, and cry tears of joy. The reality is: beginnings always call for a powerful welcome.

There’s something in the human soul that demands celebration when God does a new thing in our lives.

That’s why Jesus calls us to be baptized. Baptism is the celebration of your new-birth in the family of God. It allows people to come around you and enter into your joy. That’s why we can’t help but tear-up when we see someone rise from the waters. Something in us knows it’s right. We are experiencing the beautiful new birth we know we’re made for.


What couples are searching for in a wedding, what parents are looking for in birthdays, and what kids are looking for in gangs, Christians have found in Jesus.

So, how is it that gang kids are willing even to fight for the mere shadow of acceptance, while those of us who have the reality of Jesus’ acceptance fear  entering the waters?

In Jesus, we don’t need to fight to enter the family. Jesus fought and died for our acceptance on the cross.

Are you willing to humbly be baptized for him?

Are you a newer believer?

Are you a long time believer who hasn’t celebrated your commitment to Jesus with baptism?

Take your next step in following Jesus. Register to be baptized this Sunday at Church in the Park.


Nolan Tjaden

Nolan Tjaden

I grew up in Gresham where I first met Jesus and now I'm on mission with him at Rise with my wife Lindsey and two little rascals Ollie and Remy.

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