BAPTISM: “YOU LAND IT, YOU CLEAN IT”.
This weekend I was blessed to see a young girl I had baptized a few years ago come to me with another young girl she had won to the Lord – she wanted to baptize her friend and wanted some tips! But before the weekend Festival was over the leadership stepped in and made sure a real pastor was there to “cover” the proceeding. Fortunately that pastor was secure enough to allow the youth to spread her wings and perform the baptism.
We believe at Love’s Door 4 All Nations that if you land a fish, it’s yours to clean! The Great Commission is clear – GO into the world, PREACH the gospel, TEACH them to obey, BAPTIZE them. The command to GO is for all believers – not the trained and ordained. The command to Preach and Teach, as well. Why do we get so jittery when we think of normal believers baptizing? It’s all in the same command. Those who preach and disciple and go – they should also baptize.
It is better to empower young believers and local, indigenous believers to do the baptizing than to allow only the “spiritual leaders” to do it.
Look at Paul’s example. Paul went to Corinth, an ultra-pagan city. His helpers, Tim and Titus, were still back in Macedonia. They didn’t come for another month. So he preached and some got saved. Later in his letter to them he reminds them that he baptized only the first few who came to Christ from that city (1 Co 1:14; 16:15). So evidently, while Paul’s helpers were still away and there were no other disciples in the city he had no choice but to baptize the first converts. But later it was either the apostolic helpers or the local new believers who were empowered to baptize, and likely to disciple and teach them one on one as well. – One month old believers baptizing and discipling brand new babes!
In the villages, we missionaries are the temporary “necessary evil”. We don’t belong there long term. The worst thing we can do for these new believers is to make them in awe of what we do. The best thing is to immediately get them doing it. They may do things way different than what we would do – maybe they will baptize forward (a phenomenon of so many CPM’s [Church Planting Movement] that have not been tainted by Western Missionary culture – one person may have seen how Jesus was baptized in the Jesus Film and word spreads how it’s supposed to be done). Or they may use the juice and meat of a coconut as their communion elements!
But now the faith is in their own hands, and they can never go back.