Baptism is a ritual of the church in keeping with the example of Jesus,
who himself was baptized as a sign of faithfulness.
Matthew 28:18-20 tells us:
And Jesus came and said to them,
‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore 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 that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Baptism is a symbolic act that is rich with meaning
for the believer and the congregation.
The church baptizes us upon the confession of our faith
when we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
We confess our sins, and our desire to give our lives to Jesus.
Baptism symbolizes dying to self, being cleansed of sin
and being born to new life through the grace of God.
Baptism symbolizes the anointing and receiving of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is the choice of an individual, but it is not an individual act.
It takes place in community,
for through baptism we enter fully into life in the body of Christ.
Today we are here to baptize ____________________.
They will be making baptismal vows.
What is a vow?
A vow is a prayer spoken before God.
A vow is a promise made before witnesses.
A vow is a commitment of life and breath and strength.
A vow is a new beginning with old ways discarded.
A vow is a standard by which to measure each year.
A vow is a light that illuminates the path.
A vow is a map that shows the way.
A vow is a steady point in a whirling time o trial.
A vow is a familiar voice always calling you home.
A vow is forever, a hope for eternity.
Having heard their vows, we will baptize them with water,
knowing that God baptizes them with the Holy Spirit.
_______, please come forward to be baptized.
Do you believe in God who created you,
Jesus who saves you, and the Holy Spirit who sustains you?
Do you confess your sins,
and believe that God forgives you through Jesus Christ?
Do you promise to follow Jesus with all your heart and soul and mind,
together with your brothers and sisters in this congregation?
I invite you to kneel.
______________, upon your confession of faith,
made before God and this congregation,
we baptize you in the name of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit….
[the water is poured]
may God baptize you with the Spirit from above.
[extending a hand to help them up]
I extend to you the right hand of fellowship,
may God bless you and make you a blessing!
Congregational Response :
__________, we welcome you into the fellowship of our church!
Together, in Christ’s name, through our words and our lives,
we will share the good news of the gospel.
We will call out your gifts,
and share our gifts with you.
We will support each other in joy and sorrow
forgiving, as we have been forgiven,
loving, as we have been loved,
believing together in the power of God
to bring the kingdom come
on earth as it is in heaven.