Some of my very favorite services are baptism services. Seeing the beginnings someone’s walk with Christ is always inspiring! So what happens afterwards? Many – but not all – of those being baptized are new believers. They will have no clue of what to do next, and so over-communicating [without being pushy – it’s a fine line, I know] will probably be necessary to help them to both understand and commit to their next steps. A BIG part of this will be to continually explain the “why” in the process. As church leaders, we are often guilty of focusing on the action without much explanation – explaining takes time, and we are [genuinely busy]. However, this is a key formative period in the life of that individual – a one-on-one next steps meeting is ideal, if possible.
Here are some additional suggestions for baptism follow-up that can help the moment to be more than a moment:
- DAY OF – Give a T-shirt that says “Baptized” or something similar. Life.Church shirts say “Meet The New Me!” Make sure that they have a Bible.
- NEXT DAY – Send a link to a video of the service. Ideally, all services on a baptism weekend would be filmed and posted somewhere.
- NEXT WEEK – Send a card with a brief handwritten note from the pastor, along with a physical photo of their baptism – congratulations and positive direction for the future – not “attend this class,” but “I am so excited to be able to walk along side of you as you take these important steps in your life.” Steps, not step – it’s subtle, but opens the door for continued discussion.
- TWO WEEKS – Send a “What’s Next?” link of ways to get plugged in at church, become a member, join a small group or new believers class, etc… Focus on how it will help them, not how it fulfills the church’s checklist.
- NEXT MONTH – Send a “one month anniversary” e-mail with another photo of their baptism encouraging them to start a discipleship plan.
- BEFORE THE NEXT BAPTISM SERVICE – send an e-mail asking them to serve to help the people being baptized (or to pray for them, etc…).
- NEXT YEAR – Send a “one year anniversary” card [or e-mail].