The local church that moves forward courageously, dynamically and powerfully and stands firm in its mission - that is how it should be. At this point I want to inspire what hidden potential for this can lie in baptism and why for me it is one thing above all: a question of culture.
To start with: 12 baptisms spread over one month of the year have an inestimable added value for the congregational culture, as if the 12 baptised were "only" baptised on one common date. Ultimately, monthly baptisms can increase the willingness to be baptised so that many more people are baptised in absolute terms.
12 people x 1 event are 12 baptised. But 1 person x 12 monthly baptisms may be 20 baptised.
This can have further influence on the development of these and all entrusted flocks and thus directly on the development dynamics or church growth. In the hope of inspiring you, I want to make this potential for congregational culture very concrete with the following aspects under the motto Baptism as a constant part of congregational life .
# 1: Ready when you are
Significantly, Jesus expresses the Great Commission directly in the progressive form and thus characterises the mode of operation of the New Testament church: "Baptise them" or literally "baptising them" describes a constantly ongoing action or a recurring action when the need arises. In my opinion, Jesus did not have an annual event in mind here, for which one should sometimes wait several months.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them [w. baptising them] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (ELB Mk 16:15).
# 2: Buys out the time!
If the person to be baptised is ready, we as a congregation should be too - and very promptly. Who knows what will happen in two months? As with the possibility of conversion, sometimes the clear vision for the need for baptism is limited to a spiritually hard-fought window of time. The less time that passes between a decision in the heart and baptism, the better. This is also the heartbeat I feel in the NT.
# 3: Organisationally simple
Even if it doesn't seem like it at first glance, there are really only advantages to monthly baptisms vs. annual baptisms. Automated processes and the monthly rhythm significantly reduce communication and effort. Example onboarding: people tick the baptism on the digital contact card and end up in the right ChurchTools group (also location-specific), which automatically sends an email with all the information about the baptism seminar and baptism, which always remains the same. It couldn't be easier for the congregation: baptism takes place on the first Sunday of every month. And it takes place within the framework set by the congregation. No calendar, no exception, no asking, no confusion. No extra requests, no individual mail, no waiting for a "special" baptism service.
All teams, from announcements to worship to pool set-up, always and automatically do the same thing without being reassigned. The know-how can be distributed to more and more people through shorter cycles without loss of quality.
# 4: Disciples baptise disciples
With light baggage in terms of organisation and communication, you can then concentrate on more important things such as training. The monthly baptism offers an insanely good opportunity to use all your team or small group leaders as baptisers. This highly honourable task boosts the growth of your dream team considerably. And isn't it also a brilliant thing when the smallgroup leader has the opportunity to baptise his participants directly himself if necessary? What a celebration! This in turn strengthens the social connections within the congregation.
# 5: Supply creates demand
Now, for example, the baptism seminar is announced from the stage once a month and a baptism takes place once a month. So baptism is a topic on at least 2 Sundays a month. Guests as well as the congregation family are automatically allowed to understand baptism as a normal part of the culture. This can lead to even more baptisms, as baptism is indeed constantly present and can be taken up again and again in God's spirit. With so many testimonies and people going into the water, sooner or later every heart softens.
# 6: No hurdles
I am an absolute advocate of integrating the so evangelistic sign of water baptism into the worship service as close as possible. It is a powerful witness for the congregation and extremely powerful for all involved in the first place. To put it somewhat exaggeratedly: Not a single guest should escape. The smallest hurdle is when there is none. For more information on the topic of "Connecting baptism to the service", please also read our blog article 5 reasons why we as a church don't baptise at a lake.
Baptism as a consistent part of church life can be a real catalyst for the development of a New Testament church culture and is ultimately God's mandate to us.
And: To make the vision of baptism as a culture very simple and practical, we have taken care of the (in our opinion) still missing piece of the puzzle: every church with New Testament DNA can use a flexible option for water baptism - that's why we exist. To see the church grow and ultimately for God's glory, we dream of flooding Europe with 1000 mobile baptismal fonts. That is the mission behind the vision that drives us.
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