“Does your church still baptize people?” That was a well meaning question that came from someone in our community. This might seem like an odd question, but the truth of the matter is we boarded up our baptistry three years ago. Walled it up and replaced it with a gigantic screen. And we’ve been baptizing people ever since.
We made the decision to board up our baptistry and go with a portable baptistry for several reasons:
1). We want to bring baptism to the people. Our traditional baptistry was located high and too far removed from the congregation, tucked away into a wall for convenience. Our portable baptistry (when set up) is right at the foot of the stage. In fact we refer to the first three rows as the “splash zone.” Just the difference in location changes the entire atmosphere. Baptism now takes place in the midst of the congregation, creating a much more communal feel.2). We can now baptize during five services at two locations. On Sundays and Wednesdays we have multiple services that meet in our Worship Center and Fellowship Center. With a portable baptistry we can set up and tear down depending on where the person prefers to be baptized. We make baptism videos that we show in all services so that everyone can celebrate together, but the flexibility has been huge for us.
3). We can better utilize technology to reach the next generation. We boarded up our old baptistry and replaced it with a gigantic screen that is the centerpoint for our visual worship strategy. Much like stained glass windows hundreds of years ago, utilizing technology better helps us capture the attention of those that come through our doors. The screen is a big step in helping people worship with all five senses.
So yes, we boarded up the baptistry in our church, and we’ve been baptizing people ever since.