BAPTISM

We are excited that you are considering baptism for you or your child!  Baptism is a celebration of Christ’s love for us and our commitment to live for Christ. 

At Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my son.” While Jesus’ relation to God as Son is unique, for Christians baptism means that God has also chosen us as daughters and sons, and knows us intimately as a parent.  Through baptism we recognize our true identity as children of God and are initiated into Christ’s holy church. 

From the moment we are born, God’s prevenient grace goes before us wooing us toward salvation in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, every person has the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Jesus.  We want every person to not just learn about Jesus, but learn from Him by living life with Him every day.  Baptism celebrates one’s commitment to Christ and a desire to grow in relationship with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Infants

Having your infant baptized is a commitment to raise your child in a Christian home and being devoted to the life and ministries of the church.  As the child’s parent(s) you will be asked three questions on the day of their baptism;

  1. Parents Names and family gathered here together, do you in presenting this child for baptism confess your faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Family Response: “WE DO.”
  2. Do you accept as your responsibility and privilege to live before child name a life that becomes the Gospel; to exercise all godly care that she/he be brought up in the Christian faith, that she/he be taught the Scriptures, and that she/he learn to worship God both publicly and privately? Family Response: “WE DO.”
  3. Will you endeavor to keep your daughter/son under the ministry and guidance of the Church until she/he by the power of God shall accept for herself/himself the gift of salvation, and be confirmed as a full and responsible member of Christ’s holy Church? Family Response: “WE WILL.”

 

If you can faithfully affirm these questions and would like to have your infant baptized, then please refer to the “Scheduling” section below. Infant baptisms are most often celebrated with the “sprinkling” of water on the child’s head. 

 

Children and Adults

We advise parents to wait until their child is asking to be baptized, which is usually a good indication that they are ready for this spiritual milestone in their life. While younger children under the age of 6 can have a growing relationship with Christ, they will not necessarily remember or understand the significance of the event.

As you discern if you or your child is ready to be baptized, here are some questions to consider;

  • How has your life been transformed and made new by accepting Christ as your savior and friend?
  • What is your understanding of baptism?
  • Why do you want to be baptized?

When you are baptized you will be asked four questions;

  • Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world and repent of your sin? Response: I Do
  • Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? Response: I Do
  • Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church while Christ has opened to all people of all ages, nations, and races? Response: I Do
  • Do you wish to be baptized? Response: I Do

If you can faithfully affirm these questions and would like to be baptized, then please refer to the “Scheduling” section of this document. Child and Adult baptisms are most often celebrated by full emersion, however, they may be celebrated with the sprinkling, pouring of water on one’s head.

 

Scheduling & Baptism

Baptisms may be scheduled on most Sundays except the first Sunday of each month and on special holiday Sundays. Baptisms will usually take place near the end of the worship service.

Prior to the day of your baptism you will be asked to make a short 90 second video. The video will be a simple story or example of how Christ has changed your life and why you would like to be baptized. The video will be shown prior to your baptism.  Contact Rev. Abe Smith abes@livinglifechurch.com for questions and to schedule your baptism.

  

BAPTISM GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Who tells you who you are?

We receive our identity from others, from the expectations of friends and colleagues, from the labels society puts upon us, and from the influence of family.  To become Christian is to receive a new identity. You no longer allow others to tell you who you are. Christ now claims you and instructs you. A Christian is one who has “put on Christ.”

Baptism celebrates becoming that new person. That is why the church’s ritual begins with putting off the old, renouncing sin and the evil powers of the world, and pledging our loyalty to Christ.

What is baptism?

Baptism is one of the two sacraments (baptism and communion) of the United Methodist Church. You can probably guess that a sacrament is something sacred, but beyond that, it is pretty mysterious. The word sacrament comes from “sacramentum,” which means an oath or bond between two different things. As a Christian, you can think of this as a covenant, or really important bond, between God and people. When we participate in the sacraments, we are uniting with God in a covenant relationship.

The sacraments, by nature, are mysterious because God is mysterious. God is so huge, and we are so small… how can some ritual we perform in church suddenly put us in a relationship with God? It’s impossible to totally grasp how it works because sacraments are beyond human understanding. That means that at best our words can only circumscribe what happens, but not fully define it. We cannot rationally explain why God would love us “while we were yet sinners” and give his only begotten Son that we should not perish but have eternal life. That is the most sacred and unfathomable mystery of all. Still, even though we cannot fully understand why or how, we do know that we participate in the sacraments in order to be united with God and celebrate His great love for us.  

Why water?

Baptism involves water and symbolizes God’s love for us. It is a sign of God’s grace poured out into our lives because of Christ’s death on the cross. As sinful as we are, even at birth (Psalm 51:5), God loves us and longs to be in relationship with us. 

  • Water is a symbol of God’s love and forgiveness (Matthew 3:11).
  • The Holy Spirit moved over water at the beginning of Creation and brought forth life (Genesis 1:2).
  • In the Old Testament, God led the Israelites out of slavery through water to freedom (Exodus 13,14).
  • Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in water (Mark 1:9-10).

 

The three ways we can be baptized:

Sprinkling – a little bit of water sprinkled on the head

Pouring – a little bit of water poured on the head

Immersion – full-on dunk!!

In the absence of scriptural information on the subject, we believe that baptisms in the early church were probably conducted in a variety of styles. Descriptions of Jesus and others going into or coming out of the water may refer to their being immersed, however, the very early use of a shell as a symbol of baptism offers evidence that water may have been poured over the head of an individual who was standing in or being held over water. All three traditional modes have rich symbolic value.

Infant, Child or Adult? Baptism tells us a lot about God and humanity. We can be baptized as a baby or later in life. Infant baptism shows us that God gives us love even before we can accept it. John Wesley preached “prevenient grace,” the grace that works in our lives before we are aware of it, bringing us to faith. The baptism of children and their inclusion in the church before they can respond with their own confirmation of faith is a vivid and compelling witness to prevenient grace. (Ex: Think about how a mother bird cares for her baby birds. She provides a nest because they need shelter, but the baby birds don’t necessarily know they need shelter since they’re so young.). Believers’ baptism (ex: an adult professing faith in Christ and asking to be baptized and join the church) shows God’s work in a slightly different way. What unites different understandings of baptism is the belief that God is the most important part of the sacrament. 1 Peter 2:10 says that “Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people.” Basically, without Christ, we’re all “lacking” and full of sin. Because of Christ though, we are made complete because God saved us and set us apart for His purposes. At any age, baptism reminds us of the work of God in our lives.   Baptism also tells us a lot about the home and the Church. When a child is baptized, not only is God working in his or her life, but God is working in the parents’ lives and the congregation too! The parents are giving their child to the care of the congregation. They take serious vows and are considered responsible for raising their child in Christian love. Likewise, the congregation is considered responsible for nurturing the child in Christian love. During baptism, God calls both the parents and the congregation to be shepherds over the child and raise him or her to know all about God and His love for the world in Christ.

Does it mean I’m Saved?No, salvation is belief in Jesus Christ and claiming Christ as your Lord and Savior. Salvation is more than just one moment in time, but a lifelong process during which we continue to respond to God’s grace. Baptism offers the promise that the Holy Spirit will always be working in our lives, but salvation requires our acceptance of that grace, trust in Christ, and ongoing growth in holiness as long as we live.

Baptism is Forever? Methodists only baptize a person once. The Methodist church (and some other Protestant denominations) believe that baptism is a “one-time deal” because God does it, and what God does never needs to be “re-done.” However, God’s continuing and patient forgiveness, God’s prevenient grace, will prompt us to renew the commitment first made at our baptism. At such a time, instead of rebaptism, The United Methodist Church offers the ritual for the reaffirmation of baptismal vows, which implies that, while God remains faithful to God’s half of the covenant, we are not always faithful to our promises.