Today I baptised my friend – even though I’m just a “layperson”.

water drop splashing

This morning was a very special Easter Sunday service for my family and I. Today, my husband baptised our 15 year old son, Josiah, and I baptised one of my close friends, Helen. It was a joy and privilege to be involved in this public affirmation of their spiritual journeys, and the moment will stay with me for many years.

I’ve only recently realised “laypeople” have the right to baptise one another. Jesus gave all of his followers a mandate to make disciples, baptise them and teach them to obey his commands. These are not tasks we can or should outsource to professionals. I’m not a pastor in our local church. Neither is my husband (although he is an ordained minister and runs “church in a circle” during the week). In most churches, the clergy perform the baptisms on behalf of the whole community. I now believe it is appropriate for anybody to baptise the people they are personally discipling.

To be honest, I’m reluctant to use the word “laypeople” at all. I believe all of us are priests in God’s service. Our baptism is our ordination. Today, Helen and Josiah were ordained as fully fledged ministers in their own right, qualified to disciple others, baptise them and teach them to obey. Sure, they’re at an early stage of their journey, but they have the same status in God’s eyes as the greatest celebrity pastor of the biggest mega-church.

There are many little ways your church can work towards empowering God’s people to become involved participants, co-workers in Christ, rather than passive consumers. Allowing and encouraging them to baptise the people they are discipling is just one small, symbolic step towards activating the priesthood of all believers, and challenging the notion that any of us are “just” laypeople.

 

 

11 thoughts on “Today I baptised my friend – even though I’m just a “layperson”.

  1. We were recently in Utah and visited South Mountain Community Church on a Sunday that they were baptising people. It was really powerful to see friends and relatives baptising their friends and family, rather then the ‘professionals’. 🙂

    • That sounds beautiful, Mike. I’m encouraged by hearing of more and more churches thinking outside of the box and moving towards expressions which empower God’s people to be involved participants.

  2. BOOM! Heart hitting word. I love what you’ve said and your words are impacting me. Baptism is our ordination. Thank you for that idea. There is something special when we take time to recognize even though we are not professional ministers by the world standard, God has ordained us, we are part of the priesthood of all believers. He has given us gifts to bless others with, and to minister his love to others. If we all would understand this truth think how mobilized the church would be 😀 Chains would fall off, hearts would be set free simply by understanding we are ordained, and empowered to minister as well.

  3. That’s great Kath. I agree with you that the word “layperson” is a word we shouldn’t have to use. And we too have participated in “layperson” baptisms. My wife was baptised for the first time, and I for the second time (because I didn’t count the “christening I received as a baby) by friends, at Cronulla beach in Sydney, and two of our three children were also baptised by us at Cronulla.

    hen in a home group/church we were in for about 8 years (and which only stopped because all the young “kids” got married and moved away) a few years back we had a multiple baptism (5 of the “kids” – all late teens or early 20s) – in the tidal creek behind the house we met in. It was a great night. (It was funny, there were actually three pastors present, all friends of the group, but none of them were in charge, they just participated like everyone else. Each of the 5 chose who they wanted to actually perform the baptism, and each chose family, friends, whatever as they wished, while the rest of us cheered and prayed. I think I participated directly in two of the five.)

    • That’s so lovely, Eric. It’s such a small and simple shift to make, to let family and friends be involved in the baptisms, and yet quite a big mind shift for many.

      Blessings,

      – Kathleen

  4. Amen! We read scripture the same at our house church here in Michigan. Thank you for sharing! Welcome Josiah to the family for me. And blessings upon you and your husband as you continue to love and serve our Lord!

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