Jack “PC Talk” Nelson accepted Christ into his life when he was six years old. Thirteen years later, he said yes to baptism.
Growing up in the church, Jack had no shortage of Christian role models surrounding him—including his youth pastor, a close family friend. And in his church, baptisms were a big deal. Somehow, though, Jack made it all the way through childhood and high school without feeling the need to take that step.
Jack also spent most of his youth attending summer camp at Pine Cove. When he arrived at Texas Tech for college, he became friends with several guys who spent summers serving at camp. Thinking back on the impact Pine Cove had on him as a kid, Jack decided to apply to be a counselor as well. He was hired on staff at the Towers, and spent the summer investing in second through fifth grade campers.
During the following school year, many of Jack’s friends began to publicly proclaim their faith through baptism. He frequently reflected on the fact that he’d yet to take that step himself, and spent time praying and talking about it with his mentors. At the same time, Jack’s church in Lubbock began diving into the book of Acts. The passage in Acts 22 where Paul addresses the story of Ananias and his life transformation struck Jack in a new way in light of his recent thoughts about baptism.
“I was able to read the story and apply it to myself of just being like, ‘Why would you wait any longer?'” Jack recalls. “Because it says, ‘And now why do you wait, rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name?’ I just thought, ‘I waited this long and thought about it and really considered it. So it’s like, what is there more to do? Why wait any longer?”
Jack was finally ready to say yes to baptism. The only remaining question: where would it happen?
“Growing up going to [Pine Cove] and then working there really radically changed my faith and how I approached spreading the Gospel,” says Jack. “And so I was like, ‘I think that’d be a really cool place for me to give that proclamation of faith.'”
After conversations with the Towers camp directors, Jack had the all-clear to plan to be baptized at camp during the summer. So on the Saturday after Week 7, after all of the campers had gone home, the Towers staff gathered at the pool to witness Jack’s baptism. But they weren’t the only ones in attendance—some very special guests drove in from Dallas for the event: Jack’s family.
“They had set up a bench for my family to sit right in the front!” Jack shares. “It was really sweet.”
Before they got in the water, Jack was able to address the crowd and explain the heart behind his decision.
“I said a quick word, mentioned that verse that really spoke to me, and encouraged the rest of the staff that if you haven’t been [baptized], pray about it and consider what that means for you. But then once you know, why wait on anything? Just rise and be baptized,” Jack remembers. “I got to explain my heart behind what it meant for me as a quiet person who really struggled with proclaiming my faith. [It was] a huge step to proclaim what my faith means to me in front of a lot of people who played a big role in growing my faith in my life.”
With that, Jack and Towers Camp Director Andrew “Get Smart” Boshell got in the pool, and before his brothers and sisters in Christ, Jack went into the waters and came out again, publicly declaring himself a follower of Jesus.
The joy and renewal he experienced was immediate.
“You’re exhausted after a week of camp, but I felt so refreshed,” Jack recalls. “That next week I felt like it was Week One again! It was such a refreshing feeling, and a day that just really rejuvenated me to finish out the summer.”
One of the incredible ways the Lord works is by using the lessons, hardships, and experiences that we walk through as preparation for a situation or conversation soon coming our way. For Jack, it was a discussion with a camper that took place the very next week. During their hangtime talk in the middle of the Towers, this camper told Jack that he’d accepted Christ as his savior the previous year, but since he hadn’t been baptized yet, he wasn’t sure if it “counted.”
“And it was just really cool to get that opportunity for that to happen and be like, ‘Dude, I literally just got baptized this past weekend! That doesn’t mean that everything before it didn’t matter [or] it didn’t count.’” Jack shares. “I got to explain, ‘I pursue the Lord and believe in Him and am saved without getting baptized!'” Now Jack’s recent experience of wrestling with and finally stepping forward in obedience to the call to be baptized was now equipping him to help walk a camper through the very same subject.
“[I got to] explain what baptism means and how he can kind of re-enter his thought process of, ‘Oh, this is just my public proclamation. It’d still be really cool to do and talk to my parents about.'”
Going forward, Jack feels confident in his ability to be used by God to speak to others about baptism and encourage them to prayerfully consider their own public proclamation.
“One of the biggest things that the Lord has taught me through this is how awesome it is that He has a unique plan for me…. There’s a role for me in guiding these kids and getting baptized when I did to share this message.”
Jack’s story isn’t uncommon. Many people struggle with the concept of baptism, or wonder if they missed their opportunity to step out in faith.
“Even if you waited until an older age and haven’t been baptized, it’s not too late,” Jack asserts. “Even if you already follow Jesus, you can publicly proclaim that anytime and [say], ‘I am taking this day right now to tell everyone that I am following Jesus forever.’”
Posted Jun 22, 2022