Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I’m writing this morning on a plane heading to L.A. for a Vineyard pastors conference. But I’m thinking less about that and more about what happened this weekend: the baptisms get me every time.

You’d think I’d be over this after all these years.
There is a group of us pastors and leaders who stand behind the door and cheer when people exit after being baptized, high-fiving them as they come out. It’s a party. And the looks on their faces are priceless; some are beaming, some are sobbing, some are simply in shock, some don’t know how to process what just happened.

I call baptism efficacious symbolism. But even that can cause arguments in certain circles. In the early church, baptism appeared to be one-and-the-same with the decision to follow Jesus as Lord. But disagreements quickly rose in the church—along with splits—as to whether the water needed to be moving or still, whether the person was to go face forward or backward and not to mention pouring as opposed to dunking. The Didache was a collection of church instructions and practices (some very interesting) written within one hundred years after the resurrection. Regarding baptism, it reads:

Baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in running water. But if thou hast not running water, baptize in other water. And if thou canst not in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, pour water three times upon the head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Didache 7:1).

Though we don’t baptize infants at VCC, there is a case to be made regarding the place of children in Biblical covenants and how that relates to baptism, though I think it gets a bit complicated based on the few examples of baptism in Acts. And I’m certainly no Biblical scholar, but Greek teachers say it’s hard to take a definitive immersion stance on the word baptizo. It certainly means whelmed, or to make fully wet or stained. It can be used to mean dip or to wash as well, as in the Pharisees getting upset with Jesus in Luke 11:38 because he didn’t wash—baptizo—before the meal.

Anyway, it’s not worth the argument, in my book. I personally lean into the death, burial and resurrection picture that our method of baptism presents…and we have to land somewhere as a practice. But the methodology is not doctrine to me. Ultimately I believe it’s the sign of being born into the family of God.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, as Paul writes.

A few people ask me why I don’t do baptisms. We believe that the person who has had the most connection and personal influence with the person coming to Christ should be the baptizer. Remember, it’s the job of pastors to equip God’s people to do the ministry, and navigating someone through their decision to follow Jesus is the ultimate ministry.

One other thing. We don’t really know what to call these weekends. We’ve defaulted to Baptism Weekend. How original is that? Pretty lame, I’d say. Especially for something as cool as it is. People have suggested Wet ‘n Wild, Dunkapalooza, and so on. I don’t know; how do you name something that’s fun, electric, and yet deeply meaningful and significant?

I’ll buy a lunch for anyone who can come up with the ultimate title. A free lunch. I’ll have our Celebrations gang pick the best one.

Er, assuming we get something we can actually use.


  1. baptismolicious!

    *okay so that was weird*

    Seriously, I love that the two pastors I felt the closest two did my baptism. I will never ever forget the sound of that water going over my head, or the warfare that followed.

    That was the day God was given full control of my life. FULL. It's been hard since, but the joy has never left.

  2. It was suggested to me once that we call baptisms Dunk 'n Go Nuts. Not my idea, but it's cute.

  3. I like "Wet n Wild Worship Weekend"! and I like PF Changs : )

  4. What about Baptism And Music or BAM?

  5. Hi Dave!
    I was immersed this past weekend. How exciting it was and will be to come!! I'm grateful for all VCC it teaching me. I'm a sponge for God and how cool is that!

    Eternal Metamorph Weekend is my vote.

    Tag line could be: EM Weekend (Eternal Metamorph): Delight yourself in love

  6. Baptism Weekend. How original is that? Pretty lame, I’d say. Especially for something as cool as it is.

    I don't think it's lame at all.

    Some clever names have been proposed, but I don't think any of them serve the purpose as well as Baptism Weekend (or capture the coolness any better for that matter). What is the point of giving something a name that requires an explanation of what it refers to? How long do you think the new name would last before it was replaced by another new name, or we go back to the name we have now?

    Baptism Weekend - classic, IMHO.


  7. Oh, I am lovin McBaptism Weekend! Or Flood. I don't know why. haha

  8. ReBIRTH Weekend



  9. I agree with house, but have to throw in one of my own. So what about:

    "Anazao Weekend Experience" (AWE)

  10. Baptisms squeezes and multiplies the love of God from the bottom of my heart, straight out the top and all around. Joy ... pure Joy.

    How about PDA Weekend

    Public Display of Acceptance!

  11. WATER BAPTISM WORSHIP WEEKEND! And that's the truth.

  12. "Getting Dunked Weekend"
    "Get Holy Wet Weekend"
    "Wet Sprinkle Weekend"
    "Waterism Weekend"
    "Weterism Weekend"
    "Hey I am Holy Wet! Weekend"
    "Cannonball Baptism Weekend"
    "Big Holy Splash Weekend"