We are a new start church plant and we just celebrated 5 years! We started at the YMCA and, eventually, we found a small traditional church building for rent. A few years ago, maybe 3 now, we bought this facility.
The building was originally used for worship by a United Church of Christ congregation. It was built in 1958. It is a beautiful facility with stained-glass windows and a high, cathedral type ceiling in the sanctuary. And, like most church buildings from 1958, it has its’ fair share of quirks. We have no central air conditioning. It is laid out in a long, hallway fashion like a school building. And it has no baptismal tank.
The reason it had no baptismal tank is because the denomination who previously owned the facility performed primarily infant baptisms via sprinkling. Our denomination also recognizes infant baptism, but we baptize a lot of adults. Our tradition tends to emphasize baptism via pouring or immersion as adult Believers. So we were in a conundrum of what to do. We had new adult Believers in Christ who needed to be baptized, but we needed a tank of some sort.
The sanctuary is relatively small, so installing a tank would take up too much space. We also researched some of the “portable” baptism tanks, but they were far outside our budget. We thought about taking it off-site, but our congregation really wanted to have it on a Sunday on our church grounds. After some additional research, we found a Coleman Lay-Z-Spa. It was large enough for us to baptize via pouring or immersion depending on the person. It has a filter and heater unit that attaches to the spa. The unit circulates the water and it has the ability to reach a water temperature of 104 degrees. I recommend 90-95 degrees for baptism.
We chose to set it up in our fellowship hall rather than the sanctuary. The set-up and tear down were fairly simple. The biggest drawback was making sure it was completely dry before collapsing it for storage.
Our first baptism service was last month. We had a few decide at the last-minute to wait. But we had one courageous person volunteer as the first one in! We had to make some last-minute changes since she had a prosthesis (I was unaware of it). The congregation all gathered at the end of the worship service in the fellowship hall for the baptism. Everyone applauded and celebrated with cake! (of course)
We are looking forward to our next baptism celebration in August. We have 7 people interested! Yay God!