by Ben Crawshaw

Step One: Have a place for people to express interest in getting baptized

Whether you have a volunteer at an information table with a paper application or a link on your church website with an electronic application, you need to have a predetermined place where people can show interest in getting baptized. This application should include…

  1. A brief overview of what the baptism process looks like.
  2. A quick explanation of what they can expect if they decide to move forward.
  3. A place for them to briefly explain why they want to be baptized.
  4. A place for them to give you their contact information so you can communicate the next steps.

Step Two: Schedule an Interview

Once they’ve shown interest, the next step is to schedule an interview where you can hear their story and discover if they’re ready to be baptized. This is the most vital part! Using the contact information they gave you in the application, connect with them and plan a time to either meet in person or talk on the phone.

Step Three: Conduct the Interview

During your interview, ask questions to get a clear picture of their story and walk with God:

  • How did you come to know Jesus?
  • What does your relationship with Jesus look like now?
  • If a friend asked you to explain why you are getting baptized, what would say to them?
  • In your mind, what is the purpose of baptism?

The end of the interview could go one of two ways:

  • You feel that they are ready to be baptized. At that point you will ask them to begin writing out their testimony. Let them know that they will be filming it, so their testimony cannot be longer than 1.5 minutes. Tell them to look out for emails about upcoming dates for their filming and actual baptism.
  • You feel they are not ready to be baptized. If it’s obvious they have an unclear view of salvation, feel free to talk about it. See if the conversation will lead to more clarity. Then, thank them so much for meeting with you and ask if they’d be willing get back together soon and continue the discussion. Close the meeting by praying for them.

Step Four: Schedule Baptism Filming

  • Pick a date that works to do their baptism in the worship service.
  • Schedule a video shoot with a video person (even if the “video person” is you filming it on your iPhone). Give enough time to edit the video before their selected baptism date.

Step Five: Prep Baptism Filming

Email the person getting baptized to let them know about their upcoming filming date and baptism date. Review their testimony to make sure it’s clear. Encourage them to go over their testimony several times so that when they sit in front of the camera, they already have a plan. Encourage them—assure them that they’re going to do great!

Step Six: Film the Video

When they arrive, explain what the filming process will look like. Again, assure them that everything will be great. Tell them that that if they don’t like a take, they can film it again—that’s the beauty of video! Pray with them before they begin. Afterwards, thank them profusely and remind them of their baptism date.

Step Seven: Edit the Video

Communicate with the person who is editing the video. Give them a deadline several days in advance of the live baptism. Make sure you’re both clear on how the video will be delivered to you (what will you use to play the video?). Thank them for their time and work.

Step Eight:

Think through baptism day from beginning to end. As you do, make notes on everything that you’ll need. Think through things like…

  • Will there be reserved seating for family and friends?
  • What’s needed to logistically pull off the baptism? (Towels, mats, etc.)
  • What will you do for post-baptism celebration?
  • Will you order food? If so, how much?
  • Will there be any slides/graphics as people walk in?

Step Nine: Communicate details to prep for baptism day

Reach out to the person getting baptized and let them know what time they need to be at church on baptism day. Also, let them know what the day will look like and what they need to bring (towel, specific change of clothes, etc.). Give them specifics on what to communicate to friends and family who attend (what time to arrive, where to sit, what happens afterwards, etc.)

Step Ten: Baptism Day

Today is all about making sure everything you’ve planned is in its proper place. Your job is to simply stay one step ahead.

  • Make sure the baptism videos have been tested from beginning to end.
  • Make your baptismal pool is ready.
  • Make sure seating is reserved (if you made that an option).
  • Make sure items for the post-baptism celebration are ready.
  • Have a time when you talk through the day with people being baptized.
  • Pray together.
  • Have an awesome celebration!

This is an excerpt from the Sunday Morning Systems, a 12-module coaching program that Ben produced for The Rocket Company. The Sunday Morning Systems helps churches like yours give their members, attenders, guests, staff, and volunteers the best possible church experience.  For more information on the Sunday Morning Systems, click here.

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