When the One Baptizing is Just a Young Girl
Serving the Lord can be an amazing privilege. And yet if we are honest, it can sometimes also feel like a burden. In all churches and Christian communities, we have beliefs and traditions about who can minister… and how!
Here is a very recent story about a teenage girl from Nepal.
A Natural Evangelist
Sashi* is a bright 16-year-old girl. She became a follower of Jesus early in her life. Not long ago that she began telling everyone about this Man Jesus whom she loved so much. She went out every evening and simply told stories of the Lord Jesus that had been told to her by others.
Her friends and neighbors were wonderfully open to what she had to say! She spent many hours discipling them in the ways of Jesus. After some time she extended her audience to include the people of the village farther away.
In these villages, she told stories she had heard about what Jesus had done, along with other lessons from the Bible. The people listened with great attention! Sashi went back to teach them day after day.
In time, Sashi felt the people had heard enough to understand the basic truths of Jesus. She asked them the question she felt they were ready to answer. “Do you believe that Jesus is who He says He is? And do you want to follow Him?”
To her great joy, thirty-two of these adults said yes to both questions! But it was the next question that would actually test the new believers’ level of belief.
“If you believe in Jesus, and want to follow Him, then you should really be baptized! Are you willing to do that?”
The Power of Baptism
This was an even more important question to ask. Baptism is a very serious choice. Interestingly, often non-believers even sense there is a special kind of power in following Jesus’ example and being baptized.
To her joy, twenty people eagerly agreed to participate in this ceremony. This was all the more amazing as the disciple-maker was just a teenage girl.
Sashi, you must remember, is a humble young lady. Her first action was to contact the trainer who had first discipled her. Surely the man who had been ministering longest, and was known as a spiritual leader, would be the one who would baptize these new disciples.
Of course, her leader was full of joy when he learned of these new followers of Jesus. He praised God for so many coming to a committed faith in Jesus, and that they were even eager to be baptized.
Godly Leaders Are Humble Leaders
The Lord began to speak to this leader, who was not only a godly man but a humble one too. He realised that God was doing something remarkable in this village.
He met with his young disciple and explained what the Lord was saying to him. “Sashi, I will be very happy to meet with these new believers. But the Lord is telling me that it is not I who should baptize them. That should be done by you, as you led them to the Lord.”
Anticipating what this humble young woman would say, he said “Don’t worry. You won’t be all on your own, I can teach you everything that you need to know. Then you will be equipped and confident to prepare the new believers before you baptize them.”
Sashi was quite surprised and had to pray about this. She had not expected to have this role- it was a great responsibility. She was “only a young woman” after all! She did not see herself as being particularly special.
God was doing something new. Would it be received by all?
Church Leaders Discuss
Other church leaders learned of this extraordinary plan and discussed this among themselves. “How can it be that a lady, in this case, a very young lady, can perform baptisms? And some of those will be men- men who are older than she is.”
“It just should not be done!” some said. But the church planter and Sashi persevered.
When the day came, there were thirty-two people prepared to be baptized. Truly there was rejoicing in heaven!
Some people struggle with new ideas God is giving to believers. They find it difficult to accept new ways of worship, disciple-making and so on. It is important to test everything against the Word of God.
When we search the scriptures, we often find that our traditions don’t necessarily match the Bible. It is common to add our own rules that are not found in the Bible as to how things should be done. This hinders multiplication.
All of us have assumptions about who can minister, and to whom, and in what way. Sometimes we need to acknowledge that the Lord is doing a new thing! Or maybe it’s better to call it the renewal of an old thing. As movements are multiplying around the world, God is using ordinary believers to do the work of the ministry.
Think about your own beliefs and values, especially when it comes to ministry. Can you only receive from those who fit your expectations?
Perhaps you only wish to learn from those with academic qualifications. Or maybe you only fellowship with those of our own denomination.
God continues to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Will you be open to the new things God is doing through people like Sashi?
*not her real name