One of the greatest joys of being a pastor is having the opportunity to baptize. I think many of you would agree. Baptism is at the core of our theology and identity. Baptism is important to keep front and center, and this is why so much church architecture is designed with the font in the narthex or the center of the church. We get it. We are insiders, but how do you help outsiders or guests that come to your church, or provide tools for your members to share baptism with others?
Better yet, do you have a system in place for baptism? In other words, do you have a system to answer these questions:
- How does one request a baptism? (i.e. online, office, connection card)
- How is it decided when and where the baptism will take place?
- What processes do you have to get information? (i.e. form)
- Who makes certificates etc.?
- Do you have a class, and who teaches it?
- Do you have an expectation or policy about baptisms?
- Do you have a policy for families who give gifts for a baptism? (Is it for the pastor or does it go to the church?)
- How would I know your system?
All these questions may be overwhelming and may not seem needed. Yet, if we believe baptism is important, we should communicate our system as clearly as possible with our church guests. One place to start is to have a baptism brochure. You can view one that we developed here. It is not perfect and you may want to change content, especially pictures (LOL). The point is not just to make a brochure but to educate your congregation on the tool. They have family members, neighbors, etc. who are not baptized. Perhaps they even shared baptism already. Great! But a piece of paper with an invitation puts a decision in the hand of the receiver. That piece of paper goes with the member as a reminder to invite, and with the receiver as a reminder of God’s calling to the waters of baptism.
I pray as summer ends that God makes some more splashes in the baptismal fonts!
by: Rev. Jason Scheler, Mission Executive of the LCMS Southern District