CedarCreek Church hosts ‘Mother of All Baptisms’Written by Casey Harper | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At first Andy Shasser only went to church because his girlfriend invited him. It took a breakup two years later to finally bring him to his knees.
“I knew I didn’t have anyone to turn to, I was devastated,” Shasser said. “It was kind of your classic breakup. I needed someplace to turn to and CedarCreek was that place to turn to. They welcome you in with open arms and say ‘Hey, God loves you.’”
CedarCreek Church baptized 507 people at their Mother of All Baptisms (MOAB) event July 21 amidst fireworks, free food, inflatable bounce houses and a live band.
“Baptism for us is really just a simple, public statement that Jesus has changed your life,” said Regional Campus Director Ben Snyder. “We call it like a wedding ring. The wedding ring doesn’t make you married. It’s just a public symbol of a commitment that has already been made.”
Shasser was among the hundreds who took the fateful plunge at MOAB.
“First you give your life to Christ and the next step is to get baptized,” he said. “It was humbling, that’s for sure. It was a commitment. It was a feeling of commitment. Basically I’m all in.”
He said the end of a relationship sparked the change.
“You meet this girl who is the girl of your dreams and then situations change and then you’re like, ‘Oh, man. I guess I didn’t have it all figured out,’” he said.
Shasser said he’s not the same.
“I wasn’t respectful, I wasn’t considerate of the other person because I thought it was all about me when in reality it isn’t about me,” he said. “It’s about what God’s will is for you.”
Gary Miller was baptized and then turned around to baptize his 14-year-old daughter, Meckenzy. His daughter said it has improved their relationship.
“We used to aggravate each other,” she said. “I mean, we still do but not as much. It’s encouraging because I see how he loves God and it makes me want to love God more. I think it’s really awesome.”
After Gary baptized his daughter he kissed her on the head and told her he loved her.
“It’s all because of Jesus Christ that I have that love,” Gary said.
The baptismal pool got a little crowded when the Johnson family was baptized. First, mom and dad hopped in and, arms linked, were plunged beneath the water. They resurfaced to cheers and laughs from their kids who were delighted to see their parents sopping wet.
Then it was the kids’ turn. Two sons, two daughters and two nephews all linked arms with nervous grins and leaned back together.
They came up smiling, coughing and laughing.
“What father wouldn’t want his kids to grow up and know Jesus?” the family’s father asked Derrick.
CedarCreek offered a baptism class to explain the meaning of baptism and answer any questions. Those baptized at MOAB wrote a paragraph explaining why they wanted to be baptized. Testimonies like those hang on the wall of the church with the author’s picture above. The Johnsons’ oldest son Devontay is 11.
“I said I want to get all my sins washed away and Jesus be my forever friend,” he said.
Shasser said he’s uncertain what will come next but has hope for the future.
“We’re all gonna make mistakes,” he said. “We have to keep moving through life and I think the closer of a relationship that you have with God the less mistakes you’re going to make.”