What do we believe about baptism?
There’s a lot we could say about baptism. Here are some of the basics. Read through them and use the Reflection Questions (on the back of this page) throughout the week during devotional time. There are questions for kids and youth too!
What is baptism?
Baptism is our entrance into life in Christ. Through baptism, we are joined to Christ’s body, the church.
Water is a rich symbol. In baptism it represents new birth through Christ, which brings us from death to life. Water also cleanses, and baptism is symbolic of God washing away our sin. Water is essential for life. The baptismal waters remind us of the life-giving power of God.
Who should get baptized?
Any teenager or adult who was not baptized as a baby and feels led by the Spirit to profess faith in Jesus and live a life of Christian discipleship through the church. If this describes you, and you would like to talk about being baptized, please contact Pastor Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-345-3313)
Infants whose parents, grandparents, or other adult sponsor promise to raise the child in church, pledging to nurture them diligently in the Christian faith and guide them to accept God’s grace for themselves. The church makes a promise to raise and nurture the child, so parents/sponsors are not alone in this work.
How do we baptize?
Our church practices three historic modes of baptism: immersion, sprinkling, and pouring. All are valid. One is not more effective or better than another.
What if I’ve already been baptized?
Wonderful! We celebrate and affirm your baptism, even if you were baptized in another church or denomination. God is faithful and will continue to work through you as you live into your baptism.
But I don’t remember my baptism because I was a baby. Should I do it again?
No. We do not practice re-baptism. God is the primary actor in all our baptisms (infant and adult). God’s work is sufficient. We offer opportunities to reaffirm and renew your baptism, like in today’s worship service. God is faithful, even when we drift away from God. Use times like today’s reaffirmation to recommit yourself to a life of Christian discipleship.
What is a Sacrament?
In the United Methodist Church, we recognize two sacraments: Baptism and Communion. A Sacrament is a symbolic act in which God promises to be especially present through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and where God’s grace is conveyed to us in a special way. God graciously takes control, and the sacrament ceases to be something that we “do” and becomes God’s work in our midst. In Baptism, it is God, not the pastor, who uses the water and the word to initiate us into the family of Christ, cleanse us from sin, and bestows the Holy Spirit upon us. In Communion, it is God who feeds us in Christ Jesus.
- Have you been baptized? Do you know where and when you were baptized? Share your answers with a friend or someone in your family.
- What difference does it make that God, not the pastor, is the primary actor in baptism?
- What can you do this week, with God’s help, to live more intentionally in Christ and as a witness for Christ?
For Kids and Youth
If you’ve been baptized, ask your family about it. What do they (or you) remember about that day? If there are pictures, take time to look at them.
If you haven’t been baptized, talk with your family about what baptism means and why it’s so important. Pastor Paul and Pastor Glenn would be happy to talk with you and your family more about baptism.
Put some water in a bowl. Touch the water and then touch your forehead and say this prayer, “Thank you God for giving us the gift of baptism. Thank you for sending us Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”