FIRST-PERSON: 8 ways to celebrate baptisms at your church
-- Smile. Express true joy. Baptism is a holy ordinance, but it's also a joyful event. I love it when the church breaks into spontaneous cheers or applause.
-- Get personal. One church invites their entire small congregation to walk to the front and gather around the baptistry. It's very touching (and makes great photos!) Some churches invite family or friends to stand during baptism.
-- Invite everyone. Create a Facebook event. Provide printed invitations so the new Christian can invite everyone he or she knows. Make an e-invitation they can forward to friends using NAMB's www.baptismcelebration.org or the website www.evite.com. Put a notice on the church website. Remind their Sunday School class to attend.
-- Assign members with décor talent to update paint color, art, towels, hair dryer, etc. to assure the baptism dressing area is nice enough for a new "child of the King."
-- Prepare mementos. Take a quality photo to post to the church website so they can forward it to friends. Present a photo and baptismal certificate in a nice holder. Their small group might buy a personally imprinted Bible; each person could write a note and highlight a Scripture. Someone in the congregation could snap a panoramic photo and send it with a note to the new Christian.
-- Audiovisuals can display names during baptisms. Personal testimonies may be communicated with a question, brief interview or prerecorded video-clip. Response cards can be used with an evangelistic invitation.
-- Keep celebrating. Encourage their small groups, family and friends to plan an after-party at home or go out to celebrate. Or plan an all-church fellowship, with stories and Scriptures shared by people who influenced the new Christian. Bake a cake. Decorate. Celebrate!
-- And to remind the church of those eternity-impacting baptisms, create a music video of the year's baptisms to view in December.
Wait! You've had no recent baptisms at your church? Put down this article and go invite someone who doesn't know Christ to church. Then, get ready to celebrate.
Diana Davis is author of "Fresh Ideas" and "Deacon Wives" (B&H Publishing). She is an author, columnist and wife of North American Mission Board's vice president for the south region, Steve Davis. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).