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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

How to Create a Portable Baptistry for a Small Church

Baptism is a beautiful moment as new Christians celebrate their transformation & new life in Christ... but what happens if you're a small church without a built-in baptistry?

Sure, you could use a creek. But what if you live in Oklahoma City and you don't have a creek?

You could go out of town and do a lake -- but then you sacrifice some of the chance that your new Christians will invite their family and friends, and get them to witness their testimonies.

So, maybe you purchase a portable baptistry. But... those things are expensive!

A few years ago, I decided to make one of our own. Watch the video to see how we did it.

Getting Your DIY Baptistry Ready

creating a diy baptistry for a small church 1 page PDF checklist

I created a 1 page PDF Checklist to build your own baptistry. Click the image and put in your name and email to download. (Full disclosure, I make a tiny commission on some of the links.)

One thing our new believers love is the fact that I also use a hot water heater to warm up the water in our self-made baptism pool. :)

One other thing you might add to this checklist is a stool that can submerge in water, so your baptism candidates might have a place to sit.

Also, one bonus would be a way to anchor their feet, since some folks tip backwards when you dip them.

How to Plan a great Baptism Sunday

Baptism Sundays ought to be one of the greatest celebrations of a local church. To plan one that everyone will remember, you need to prepare.

  • Get a baptistry plan figured out (see the video and PDF above)

  • Line up your baptism Bible study training plan

  • Prep your new Christians for Baptism

  • Help them be aware of the details of the service

How to prepare new Christians for Baptism

New Christians can often misunderstand baptism, and this can lead to uncertainty, fear, or confusion. But some skillful preparation by a pastor can help a new believer's baptism Sunday be a moment they will remember forever.

Here are some tips:

1. Give your new believers a baptism Bible study.

If you want a good one, check out my Baptism Challenge, which is part of the NewStart Discipleship strategy.

2. Give them a clear set of baptism instructions.

Some folks are anxious or confused about what's supposed to happen. I give them a 1 page list of instructions that includes how the service will go. Here's a link to the Google doc that I have on this: BAPTISM INFO SHEET & QUESTIONS. Feel free to use the "file" menu and "make a copy" so you can edit and print your own!

3. Be sure to teach them it's a beginning, not an end.

Way too many people think that baptism is a goal... a magic ceremony that protects them from evil, and seals the deal for all eternity. Make sure you communicate to them that it is a beginning, a resurrection like Christ's, and more.

If you want something to help you with that, I'd recommend this Bible study. Click the image for more info.

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