My Advice to Churches: Part 2, Baptism and a Covenantal Imagination

My faith tradition practices believer's baptism by immersion. So my second bit of advice for our churches was to focus on baptism.

This should make sense. We need to center and invest in the two sacraments of the Protestant tradition. Baptism and the Lord's Supper, these lay the foundation.

When I say we should invest in baptism I mean we need to use baptism to cultivate a covenantal imagination. We need to narrate this connection, over and over. People have to hear it every single week. You have been baptized into this covenantal community. Our baptism was a marriage vow, a promise to be faithful to God and to each other. Baptism is not about your personal salvation. God is saving the church, His covenantal family. Baptism joined you to this family. Church is the place where we are being saved.

Cultivating this covenantal imagination--that in our baptism we have made promises to God and to each other--is the most vital and counter-cultural work now facing the church. This covenantal imagination is the antithesis of the consumeristic, therapeutic and individualistic identity held by most Americans, Christians included. And baptism, as our marital vows to God and the church, is the sacramental tool to combat it. If we narrate it--that we have made promises--over and over and over again.

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