Immersed in Rain: Church Explores Baptism Innovation Amid COVID-19
By Stephanie Collins
Under the variety of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, it should come as no surprise that churches and pastors everywhere are trying to figure out how to observe the ordinances safely. Consider baptism, for instance. With social distancing and mask mandates, Pastor Curt Walters and Crosspoint in Fishers, Indiana, have had to pivot their baptism practices.
One unique and innovative option the church first presented for those who had been watching worship services online was a “bathtub baptism” in their own homes, after which participants would submit a video to share with the church. As it turned out, all of Crosspoint’s recent baptism candidates decided to do their baptisms in-person at the church facilities.
Going a different route, Pastor Curt and his team decided to get creative and institute a “Walking in the Waters of Baptism” idea that came out of a sermon series the church had done prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This idea allows the baptism candidates to maintain social distancing while maintaining their face coverings. Pastor Curt said of this experience:
“A few years ago, we made and installed a rainmaker for a [teaching] series in which we needed ‘rain.’ So, individuals, who want to be baptized, have their profession-of-faith moment and then walk through the rain—kind of like a “massive sprinkling.” It was a very powerful moment—honestly, we weren’t sure how it’d turn out, but we are always willing to try new things, and felt prompted to provide something out-of-the-box. The cool thing is we probably would’ve never considered this if we wouldn’t have had to innovate due to COVID-19. And now, because it was such a powerful experience, we’re considering making this one of our primary methods for baptism.
In the video above, one can see what a powerful moment this “rainmaker” provided for the baptism experience at Crosspoint. The new believers who made their professions of faith simply walked through a sprinkler that had rain coming down out of the ceiling. Some candidates walked through rather quickly, while others decided to stop in the rain and allow it to wash over them for several seconds.
In a world where we can be unsure how to move forward with many things, it is refreshing to know that there are churches and pastors like Curt Walters and Crosspoint who are coming up with creative ways to further the gospel. A virus cannot stop the kingdom. A pandemic cannot stop God’s word going forth and changing lives. Social distancing and masks cannot stop people from following the Lord in water baptism. The gospel goes forth, and so do we.
Stephanie Collins is the NextGen and online campus pastor of Madison Park Church of God in Anderson, Indiana. She loves helping people realize that they are loved no matter what.
Learn more about the response of Church of God Ministries to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including resources for you and your church, at www.jesusisthesubject.org/theway.