Idea Of The Week: Open Baptism

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At Northview, we have “open” baptism once per year. That basically means that we ask people to make a decision, then and there, and come forward to be baptized. In our normal baptism procedure, people attend a class, and then film a brief testimony that we show as they are being baptized. While we think that this really helps people to be able to go public with their faith, it also terrifies some introverts. And not just a little. We have had people who have literally run away (or broken down sobbing) from the stress of having to do the video part. The open baptism allows them to simply be one of many, which reduces their stress. I think it can be easy for the more extroverted of us to criticize that reluctance, but it’s a reality, so we deal with it.
It’s also serves to help people get “off the fence.” It easy to say: “Yeah, I’ll get baptized the next time around,” but we do a straight up message on what baptism is (and why God thinks it’s important), and then ask people to do something about it. We have towels and clothes to change into all ready to go…
The first time we did it this way, we had no idea how people would react. Actually, the first open baptism I saw at Northview was the first time I had visited as I was preparing to come on staff. So many people responded that a 2nd weekend had to be added, and, in the end, more than 600 people were baptized!!!
We did this year’s open baptism this last weekend and had about 175 people respond. 175 changed lives is an incredible blessing to see – I really encourage you to consider trying this!

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