ENCINITAS, CA - A recent youth "Spring Kick-Off" pool party at pastor Rod's house was revealed to be a covert attempt to inflate the church's baptism numbers, a source close to Growth Church revealed Tuesday.
The event was pitched as a fun time for the youth to get to know each other, swim in the youth pastor's pool, and develop crushes on one another in a complex web of opaque relationship statues comparable to those in an HBO drama series. But new evidence suggests it was something more sinister: an opportunity for the church to pad its baptism statistics, counting every youth who dunked himself in the pool as a baptism for the church's annual report.
Partway through the event, a deacon was spotted in a nearby bush, marking down each youngster who cannonballed into the pool as a baptized church member. Witnesses claim he even counted people who jumped in more than once as separate baptisms.
"In response to current reports, we can confirm that anyone who was fully immersed in the pastor's pool Saturday night was in fact counted as a legitimate conversion, profession of faith, and baptism," the church's vision casting pastor said in a statement. "Anyone who takes issue with that should have read the fine print in the release form the parents had to sign before the event took place. It clearly stated that we reserve the right to count literally anything as a baptism."
"Our final tally for the night was 343 baptisms - not a bad night for the kingdom of God," he added.
At publishing time, further investigation had revealed the church counted as a baptism anyone who got wet participating in the water balloon fight, battling in the Super Soaker war, or washing their hands before the hot dogs and burgers were served.