“In publicly accepting the promises God made to us in baptism, we stake a claim on our faith and our church.” That was the message of a profession of faith class at Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. As part of the service, the students drove a stake into the ground to create a marker of this significant part of their faith journey.
The idea for the staking ceremony came out of a discussion in a profession of faith class. The class, made up of middle school aged youth, were talking about the doubts that are part of every Christian’s walk with God. Pastor Everett Vander Horst explained that publicly professing their faith is one of those moments students could look back on and remember their commitment, “like putting a stake in the ground to function like an anchor.” Almost immediately, one student asked if they could do just that and drive an actual stake into the ground at church.
The ceremony took place at the close of the service when the congregation filed outside to the gardens beside the church. While each student drove a wooden stake into the ground in the garden, Vander Horst read the verse that was inscribed on it. Vander Horst then gave the benediction, and the congregation responded with singing “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow.” After the service, congregation members were invited to highlight their favorite verse in each student’s Bible.
The stakes, made of black locust, will last in the ground for many years, so students can return to the garden and see this marker of their profession. Vander Horst anticipates that this might become a tradition for future classes, or at least an option for students to participate in. He sees a need for churches to develop a culture in which members can implement ideas like this one. “Especially when young people come up with an idea, rather than default to ‘no, it won’t work’” said Vander Horst, “try to say yes.”