His church, like many evangelical churches, loves to tally up how many people get baptized there — one mark of how many converts the church has created. In fact, Furtick’s team put together an entire resource guide to help other churches put together “spontaneous baptisms” that would allow church attendees to get baptized right then and there without having to think about it. (Because thinking gets in the way of blindly following.)
What’s the benefit to the church? Well, it’s kind of like carving notches in a bedpost — it’s an unofficial way to claim superiority over your competitors. Plus, if you’re baptizing more people, you must be doing something right (at least in places where people take baptisms seriously), so attendees may be inclined to donate even more money to you(r church).
Furtick even provides a template script that other pastors can use:
It is my great privilege today to be able, after months of planning and a whole lot of prayer, to offer thousands of you at our church and even in sites all over the world, one of the greatest opportunities I think you’ll ever have in your life. It may be something you’re not expecting at all. We’ve been planning on doing baptisms at the church this weekend for a long time, but what you may not have known is that you’re going to be the one getting baptized.
I can feel the confusion in the air. You’re saying to me, But I didn’t sign up for baptism. Do you mean you’re going to give me a chance to sign up for baptism today? No not to sign up for baptism today; to be baptized today. I’m going to give every single person in this church today, who has never been biblically baptized as a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ, the opportunity to be baptized today. Not in a month, not after you’ve gone through training for three years, I’m talking about you came dry, you’re leaving wet, dripping wet, baptized in Jesus’ name today.
This is a new beginning! This is a new day! I’ve decided to follow Jesus! May hundreds come now. Do it, God! One (this is it!), two, three! Move right now! Right now! Right now! Don’t let the Devil talk you out of it. Right now! Right now! Get off the fence! Right now, Uptown! Right now, Matthews! Right now, Blakeney! Right now, Providence! Come on, you feel a little hesitation? Let God push you in the deep end today. It’s all about Jesus! It’s all about His grace!
This is how peer pressure works, kids.
But I guess it’s not enough. What if no one wants to get baptized? What if no one wants to take the lead?