Throughout the church’s history, baptism has been an important milestone in the journey of faith. As United Methodists, we believe that baptism has both human and holy qualities. While we speak human words and use the physical sign of water, we believe that God is also at work through this action. This makes baptism a sacrament, and as a sacrament it is available to all people regardless of their age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other human criteria. People of any age may be baptized. For those old enough to answer for themselves, they profess their faith in Jesus Christ, promise to serve him through the ministries of the church, and to be faithful disciples. They also become professing members of the congregation, promising to support the ministries of the church through their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. For infants and others who cannot answer for themselves, parents or sponsors may make these pledges on their behalf, along with the promise to raise them in the church’s care until that day when they may be able to accept God’s grace for themselves. (For this reason, it is important that at least one sponsor be a member of the congregation’s life.) Children and others who cannot answer the questions for themselves are entered into the church’s rolls as baptized members.
If you are considering whether baptism is a next step in faith for you or for someone you know, consider how you might answer the questions that are asked as part of the service:
- Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
- Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
- 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 which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, races, sexual orientations, and gender identities?
- And in the case of those who cannot answer for themselves, this question is asked of their sponsor(s): Will you nurture this person in Christ’s holy Church, that by your teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly, and to lead a Christian life?
If you believe that you can answer affirmatively to each of those questions, we would love to talk with you about scheduling baptism for you or for someone you care for.