GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR INTERVIEWING CANDIDATES FOR WATER BAPTISM
Water baptism is an essential ordinance in the New Testament. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved …” – Mark 16:16. It is imperative to baptize converts as this has been commanded by the Lord.
Goal of the interview
The interview is to ensure that the individual or candidate has truly believed,he/she is born again and the claim is supported by a clear testimony. Four points are essential:
- The candidate has understood the salvation message.
- He has willingly and unreservedly exercised faith in Jesus Christ. He has confessed and forsaken his sins and taken up Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
- He has demonstrated his faith by practical obedience, especially in the area of restitution if required.
- His lifestyle reflects his profession, such that he who would baptize him cannot be accused to have acted rashly, presumptuously or unscripturally.
The purpose of the interview is not to hinder or terrify the candidate, teach him the entire Bible or prepare him for the ministry! Rather, it is to ensure that the individual qualifies to partake of the ordinance by asking him questions that confirm his faith or reveal areas where amendments must be made. It suffices to ensure that the individual satisfies the Bible requirement for those to be baptized in water.
There will be an interview panel comprising at least two ministers of proven spiritual standing. One of them shall do the questioning while the other takes notes and fills in the interview form. Of course, other members of the panel may ask questions that support the process. Except where some difficult issues develop, the interview should generally not take more than 15-20 minutes. Thereafter, the panel shall come with a recommendation and motivate it. There are four possible outcomes:
- Qualified: the candidate satisfies the requirements and can be baptized.
- Conditionally qualified: there is an assignment to be carried out, after which the candidate can be baptized. A deadline shall be set for the assignment and the assignment must be clearly specified.
- Deferred: there are difficult issues, which must be resolved before a decision can be taken. Such issues are referred to the Pastor if he is not in the panel. A note is made also in the interview form.
- Not qualified: the candidate does not satisfy the requirements for water baptism. The reason should be written down in the form.
The form is appended below.
INTERVIEW FORM FOR WATER BAPTISM
- Spiritual experience
a)What do you understand by being born again? ______
b)When did you get converted? ______
c)Relate briefly your conversion experience: ______
- Restitution and practical evidence of conversion
a)What do you understand by restitution? ______
b)In what area of your life was/is this required? ______
c)State any specific restitution you have done:
d)How are these areas of your life…? (The panel should help the individual by pointing out possible areas, e.g. marriage, “living together”, fraud, impersonation, theft, malpractice, falsification of papers, records or accounts, etc.)
a)Have you fully resolved in your heart to follow the Lord Jesus? ______
b)What peculiar areas of your life could threaten this decision?
c)Do you need any help along these lines? If yes, how?
b)Motivation (state how you came to this conclusion):
ORDER OF SERVICE FOR WATER BAPTISM
- Opening prayer
- Short exhortation on water baptism
- The ceremony
- Prayer for the baptized
- Closing prayer
The celebrants shall assemble near the water fully dressed such that they will be well covered as they descend into the water and after they are baptised. Before this time, changing facilities must be provided such that male and female celebrants can change separately before and after the water baptism.
The minister, who can be supported by a helper, will descend into the water. He shall call the celebrants one by one for the baptism. For each celebrant, the water baptism shall proceed as follows:
Minister:Brother/Sister <Name of Celebrant>, have you been born again and made righteous by faith in the atoning Blood of Jesus Christ?
Minister:Do you promise before God, His holy angels and this congregation/assembly that, God helping you, you will remain in Christ and follow Him in obedience for the rest of your life?
Minister:On the confession of your faith, I baptize you in the name of the father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
Hereafter the minister shall immerse the celebrant completely in water and bring him or her out.
Congregation:Amen. They may clap sing, etc.
This procedure shall be carried out for each of the participants.