What is baptism?

Baptism is a public act symbolizing a person’s decision to believe that Jesus Christ was who he said he was (God in the flesh who lived a perfect life and died in place of all humankind so that all people could know God… and then he came back to life). 

 

You have to believe in Jesus Christ and decide to follow him and his teachings before you get baptized.

"to immerse or dip"

In Greek (the language of the New Testament), the word baptize means “to immerse or to dip.” That’s why when someone is baptized, their entire body is submerged under water. 

Baptism was important to Jesus

Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17) as a crucial first step in his life of ministry. After Jesus died on the cross and came back to life, before ascending into heaven, he told his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So not only was baptism one of the first things he did, it’s also one of the last things he tells everyone else to do.

When someone is baptized, the one “performing” the baptism will usually say something like “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — buried to the old way of life, raised to walk in newness of life.”

This phrase is from Romans chapter 6 when Paul writes about how the power of sin (all the stuff that separates us from God) is broken and we’re free.

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.”

Baptism is used as a symbol to remind us of an old way of life that we’re leaving behind and a new life we are beginning with Jesus.

But don’t get it confused— the act of baptism isn’t what saves you. Jesus already accomplished that on the cross with his death. Your baptism experience is an opportunity for you to declare to yourself and everyone else that you are choosing to prioritize Jesus over everything else in your life and identify yourself as a follower of Jesus.

One more thing…

Baptism is exciting and special. For many, it’s a decision they make early on in their faith journey. If you find yourself discouraged not long after getting baptized, don’t give up. There will be many ups and downs in your faith journey and if you find yourself struggling with the same things you did before baptism, know that you’re not alone. If you’re tempted to think maybe it “didn’t take” — remember, baptism isn’t what saves you. Jesus has already done the work, and he’ll lead the way in shaping who you become. 

Frequently asked questions

Here are some answers to common questions.

It’s awesome that your parents loved you and wanted what’s best for you. When it comes to faith, we all have decisions to make about what we believe that aren’t determined by our family or friends. Baptism is a personal decision that you have to make on your own. When you decide for yourself to be baptized, it’s a powerful symbol of following Jesus. 

We celebrate baptism as part of our Sunday morning worship gatherings. If you’re intimidated getting up in front of everyone, we understand. However, making a public declaration of faith is meaningful and we want to be able to share it with everyone. Plus, if you have family or friends that haven’t yet decided to follow Jesus, this is a perfect time to invite them to see what God has done in your life. 

Usually one of our staff members will perform the baptism. At the end of the baptism, someone will pray over you. If you have an influential person in your life that you’d like to pray over you, let us know!

No, but we love to share stories! We’re not always able to share everyone’s story, but sometimes we record videos or we’re able to read something for you, too. The encouragement that comes from hearing what God is doing in people’s lives is meaningful for so many of us. 

We love to hear about kids wanting to follow Jesus! There’s not a set age requirement for baptism, but we do want to make sure there’s a basic understanding of who Jesus is, what sin is, and what it means to live your life for Jesus. If you’re not sure if your child is ready, we’d love to sit down with you and your kid and talk through what it means to be baptized and follow Jesus. 

You can find a handy document with all this information linked below.
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