COVID-19 caused a lot of plans to change. Like many businesses and organizations, the church had to adapt, navigate, and rework their normal plans in light of this virus. In our own church context, we were in the middle of a 2-week series on baptism when the stay-at-home orders started dropping. I was slated to preach on March 15th in the last segment of the series, and we had a number of people who had committed to be baptized on that Sunday morning.
But the Thursday prior to our Baptism Sunday, everything changed. We met together and made the decision to take our services online for the good of our community, but this meant our Baptism Sunday was going to have to be put on hold for the time being. After all, it’s pretty difficult to baptize people virtually and even harder to baptize people from a safe social distance.
But as you well know, a pandemic can’t stop the church from moving the mission forward. We paused our Baptism Sunday, made contact with those who had planned to be baptized, and set to work trying to figure out how to help them take this huge step of faith even while on a stay-at-home order. A few weeks later, in the week leading up to Easter, our Lead Pastor, Sean Kelly, offered a suggestion that would allow people to be baptized and allow the church the opportunity to encourage and even celebrate with those who decided to take the plunge.
The idea was a simple one – Home Baptism Kits delivered to the homes of those who wanted to be baptized into Christ. Obviously, the plan would require some creativity on our part. How would people let us know they wanted to be baptized? What would we include in the baptism kit? How could we ensure people were baptized in accordance with Scripture? How could we ensure we got great video and photos of their baptisms so we could celebrate as a church family?
Here was our process, including the Baptism Explanation Video we shared to help people through the process, filmed and edited by our High School Minister Isaac Leimeister.
- Contact all those who wanted to be baptized on Baptism Sunday and see if they’d like a Baptism Kit. (Note: many stated they wanted to wait until we gathered again physically, but many others decided to be baptized at home)
- Record a video announcement encouraging those who would like to be baptized to let us know. To accomplish this, we set up a page on our website (thanks Dawn) they could go to, gave out the email address of our Connections Director Allison, and also gave out the church phone number.
- Once we received word, we began to deliver Baptism Kits. The kit included inflatable pools, a Best Day Ever T-shirt for them to wear, and an information form so we could collect the information we needed to get them a Baptism Certificate and connect with them after their baptism.
- We then recorded a Baptism Explanation Video that they could refer to as they prepared to do their baptisms at home. The video walked through all the steps, including how to properly record the event so we could celebrate the baptisms later as a church family, even though we are still meting online.
- We posted the video along with a detailed explanation on our website – you can view the video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ9Qmr22hRo
- We safely delivered the Baptism Kits to those who requested them. Some of our staff and volunteers made this happen.
- We celebrated by posting the pictures on our social media and highlighting the home baptisms in our services online the following week.
What creative ways are you connecting with your people and helping them take their next step of faith? Share them with us!