Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Anh Johnson

10698575_10103500723274398_7888641710291724217_nMy name is Anh and I am the Director of Women’s Ministries at Canyon Creek Church! Basically I get to hang out with women, help build community, and create events where women can gather to worship Jesus. I graduated from Northwest University in 2010 with a degree in Biblical Literature. I I love teaching people from the Bible and I love helping women grow in their personal relationship with Jesus. I believe that when you began grasping the reality of God’s love for YOU then it will change your life.

I live in Everett, WA with my husband and my girls.  My husband is a manager at the Marysville Costco.  Kairee Grace is our 2.5 year old and Kenzie Joy is our 1.5 year old.  I am primarily a stay at home mom.  I volunteer as the Women’s Ministry Director at our church and I sell Mary Kay as a hobby which means I simply love the discount and the products.  We started this business so we can earn money to donate 50% of our personal profits to fight human trafficking in Seattle.

Follow Jesus in Baptism Women’s Weekend

Hey friends! I recently spearheaded and planned my first giant event for our church’s Women’s Ministry! How exciting right? I am still processing and praying through all the wonderful things that God did at our Women’s Weekend but wanted to share with you what can happen when you JUMP IN and follow Jesus when He calls you!

Last month (January, 2015) I was given full leadership as the director of Canyon Creek Church’s women’s ministry. That same month my team and I planned our biggest event of the calendar year. This is our annual Women’s Weekend. We dreamed, prayed and planned BIG! Go big or go home, right?

The outcome: 109 women attend, from approximately 15 different churches and 11 baptisms!!! I would say that was a win for us.

Initially we were not planning on doing baptisms because baptismal tanks are a huge hassle and I was not sure we could pull it off. Personally I did not want to do baptisms
because our church does not have our own baptismal for indoor services so I knew that I would need to borrow one, transport it, assemble it, fill it with water, pump the
water out, disassemble it, transport it back, and pray to God that I did not break the baptism OR damage the building if I put it together wrong. (Didn’t I have enough to do
anyways with being a wife, a mom, and planning this giant weekend?) Plus, we all know how awkward it can become if no one steps forward to get baptized even though the baptismal is set up.

BaptismBut then, someone asked if they could be baptized at our Women’s Weekend, so we were guaranteed at least one baptism! Plus, my team of leaders are Jesus women
who go the extra mile – we just said “why not?” We trusted God to do what God does – which is blow our minds and expectations! Why not? We continued to be faithful in our prayer and planning and knew God would be faithful too.

In reflection, I know we did it because we believe people are worth the work. As ministers we must always remember that people deserve the extra effort. God will bless
your hard work when your heart is right. Don’t grumble at the extra effort but choose to have God’s perspective on the extra things. God showed up at Women’s Weekend during baptisms because I got to baptize my sisters and then together, my sister and I baptized our mom. High fives all around to Jesus and the angels at that point in the night!

Baptizing my family was the moment where all the hard work and emotions of Women’s Weekend paid off. Witnessing 7 years of prayers for my family come to
fruitition was worth it. Initially I asked only my sisters to come and there was only verbal confirmation but minimal commitment so I prayed and figured if they show up then they
show up and it will be great. My middle sister texted me the day before the event to tell me that both sisters were coming AND my mom. So I texted my mentor to let her know that they all were coming and I would be praying for them to accept Christ and all be baptized. My mentor mentioned how she liked that I prayed big. If I learned one thing in my relationship with Jesus is that I would always rather pray big and have my faith challenged then never pray big at all. By “big” I mean pray some crazy ridiculous only God can do this kind of prayers.

God blessed our hard work in the whole baptismal fun-fest because we had the privilege of baptizing 11 women. Eleven women chose to publicly demonstrate their faith because our team chose to make the opportunity happen. What if we didn’t have baptisms? Then 11 women wouldn’t have been challenged to get in front of 100 women
to demonstrate their faith. Our faith would not have been stretched as we prayed for women to get baptized. Our faith would not have grown when we baptized 11 women.
There is no losing side to offering baptisms. There are only wins.

My first boss/pastor in vocational ministry taught me that baptizing someone means you take personal responsibility in their faith and spiritual walk with Jesus. Please take time to express that responsibility to women getting baptized and to the people baptizing. To illustrate this during Women’s Weekend, I was in the tank with the person getting baptized. We also had a minister stationed inside or outside the tank to pray with the person and invite them into a discipleship relationship after they had been baptized! It was beautiful! Shout to Don Ross for being a real gem and teaching me about the weight of responsibility when it comes to baptisms.

After reading about our Women’s Weekend, you are inspired to try this at your next event, here are some details that will help you be successful.

Let’s talk logistics!

Baptismal tank: You need a baptism tank. If you DO NOT have one then call local churches to see if you can borrow theirs! Treat their baptismal tank with respect and
kindness because those things are expensive. You do not want to be known as the church that broke someone else’s baptismal. Please be considerate by returning the
baptismal safely! If you DO have a baptismal at your church or the location of your retreat ask yourself this question: What is holding us back from adding baptisms to our
retreat schedule?

Towels and Shirts: Towels are necessary! Prepare and pray for God to move and people to respond with the spontaneous choice of getting baptized. Always have extra
towels and extra shirts! Dark colored shirts are preferable because this is not a girl’s gone wild event. This is a church event people!

The List: What is the list? The list is the names of the people getting baptized. You want to be able to connect with them at their baptism! This list also provides a way to
follow up with baptismal certificates and discipleship information.

Signups: Make an option for women to sign up for baptisms prior to the event. Some women already know they want to be baptism and are just waiting for an invitation.
Signups give them the opportunity to properly prepare. Just add this option to your registration form.

I want to encourage you to prayerfully consider offering baptisms at your retreats. As women, we think about the things that most men do not – for example: How women
look and feel when they are sopping wet with cold water. Retreats are a safe place for women to choose to get baptized. Baptisms add a major celebration factor to any and every retreat.

I believe that the extra mile that we put in to make baptisms happen challenged our faith and our heart because we had to pray for God to prepare women’s hearts for this public declaration. Also I believe that creating this opportunity for women blessed them. There is no excuse at that point for NOT getting baptized!

Here is my huge “Thanks to…” section:

Huge heaping humongous thanks to Creekside Church in Mountlake Terrace for letting Canyon Creek Church and Equip Women’s Ministry use your baptismal tank. Pastor Jason Deuman did not even hesitate to let me borrow their tank. I don’t know if it was our prior work relationship that made him trust me? Or was it my sincere and pathetic pleading voice that got him? I don’t know. Pastor Jason letting us borrow his church’s baptismal was us witnessing partnerships in churches. This is what
church communities are suppose to be. We should want to help other churches have major wins. Women’s Weekend was a ministry win because Creekside Church was generous. Thank you so much Creekside for being awesome.

Gigantic giant buckets of thanks to our Canyon Creek Church staff for praying with us and helping us prepare for this event. Our facilities manager/Saturday night pastor
Jeremy Olson was so incredibly helpful with every aspect of baptismal set and operating the giant watery beast of a baptismal tank.

And lastly, my leadership team (Heather Taylor, Kristin Pedersen, Joy Caldwell, Becca Holcombe, Dana Schmidt, Jennifer Tran) who are all incredible and faith filled leaders. Thank you so much for trusting my crazy ideas and making them happen! I love serving our church with each of you on my team. Each individual brings their best and gives their best to our ladies. I love you all more then I love eating meat. That says a lot.