“My biggest fear about being baptized is the most irrational.”
Walking into her baptism this weekend, Kathryn Heob worries about facing her fear of being in front of a crowd, acknowledging, with a laugh, the irony of that fear in this context.
When Kathryn and her husband decided to make Summit their church home, they knew it would be all or nothing. This was going to be their community, their family, or they weren’t going to be here at all. The path to finding that was clear to Kathryn from the beginning; she wanted to serve, and she wanted to serve with students.
But this wasn’t an arbitrary choice. Kathryn describes how someone’s commitment to serving her as a student made all the difference in her life. “My mentor told me for years that she would be there for me when I hit rock bottom. Though, for a long time, I didn’t believe that that would ever happen, when it did, she was there with open arms,” Kathryn explains of when her mentor pointed her toward God’s unconditional love for her. “She was what I needed, not necessarily what I wanted, and that’s what I want to be for my students.”
Kathryn began serving in student ministries at the Lake Mary campus and not only gained the chance to impact the lives of students there, but also gained a family in the group of leaders she became a part of. “I found that finding community and a way to feel like you're really making a difference in the church can change your entire life," Kathryn describes as she recounts story after story of ways her fellow leaders have been friends, family, and the church to her.
As she looks forward to her baptism this Sunday, Kathryn is excited to demonstrate that life-change to her family. She wants each of her students to know that, even if you’ve hit rock bottom, God doesn’t abandon you because of your mistakes. “I feel like it's my calling to understand the way they feel, and turn them to God's grace, not focus on their wrongdoings,” she says. “I love those kids, and if I can save even one of them from running from God, I've done my job.”
The idea of standing in front of the whole church this weekend still sets Kathryn's stomach in knots. But, with each passing year that Kathryn spends with her church family, the more she wants them to know how much God has done in her life, and the more certain she is that it’s time to take this step. She’s excited to turn what she’s known in her heart to be true into a physical act of obedience and, amongst the nerves, she’s excited for her community to be there to cheer her on.
We're still working toward deciding where Kathryn will be baptized on Sunday, but we hope you'll join us for it! Keep updated on Hurricane Matthew, weekend services, and Beach Baptism here.
Kari Freeman is the Communications Coordinator for the Lake Mary campus. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.