Last year, I attempted to build my own portable baptistery. It was an act of desperation to solve the problem of a mid-winter baptism in a country where having such an event publicly could cause problems. I bolted together a big box four feet long by five feet wide out of Formica-laminated pressboard. It looked like a big, deep, white coffin. I reinforced the sides with rods, making it look a bit like the Ark of the Covenant. Then I put in three layers of sheet plastic and stapled the plastic to the rods. In the end, the baptism was postponed. Later, when the baptism was scheduled again, out of serious concerns about flooding our church with several hundred gallons of holy water, we decided to move the event to a discreet seaside cove. The baptism was beautiful, but my tailor-made baptistery was never used.
Actually, I shouldn’t say never. Recently I have been reading David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. Part of his advice made me reevaluate my desk situation, and I decided I needed a larger desk. A light bulb switched on over my head as I remembered the baby-grand-piano-size piece of wood I had used for the baptistery base. I simply laid this big baptistery floor over the top of my current desk. It was perfect.
Now I can truly say, “I write my Bible lessons from the bottom of a baptistery!” All our church planning, publishing work, discipleship training and Turkish ministries take shape where the baptismal candidates’ feet would stand! Whenever I sit at my desk/baptistery and think about it, I smile.—Barnabas Hope