WHAT IS BAPTISM?
Maybe you’ve asked that question or had someone ask you that question. If so, don’t feel badly; baptism is, unfortunately, one of the most misunderstood activities in the Christian church.
Simply put, baptism is an invitation into the body of Jesus Christ, the church and is the beginning of a lifelong process of growing to become more like Jesus Christ. It INCORPORATES new members into the church; it IDENTIFIES the individual as a baptized Christian; it SIGNIFIES the lifelong process of death/rebirth and new life; and it ASSURES us that our sins are forgiven.
Really, that’s it.
Baptism is one of the two main sacraments (sacred actions) of the United Methodist Church (the other being communion). Baptism was ordained by Christ Himself and can be received only once, and its effects are lasting. The United Methodist Church recognizes any Christian baptism; you do not need to be baptized in the United Methodist Church to become a member of a local UMC.
In the UMC, we baptize by sprinkling water over the head; we baptize by pouring water over the head and we also baptize through complete immersion in water, depending on the preference of the individual. The amount of water used in baptism isn’t important; what IS important is the impact the act has upon the heart and soul of the individual being baptized.
Bethel UMC will baptize both adults and children and we take the baptism of children seriously. In the children’s baptism liturgy, the entire congregation who are witnessing the baptism take a vow to help raise the child in the Christian church. We believe it is everyone’s responsibility to help raise children in the faith of Jesus Christ.
Anyone interested in their own baptism or the baptism for a child or grandchild needs to meet first with the Senior Pastor to talk about the significance of the act and the baptismal vows, especially those who are not currently attending BUMC. The public act of “going through the water” also carries with it a responsibility on the part of the individual to become part of a faith community, whether that be BUMC or some other community.
If you’d like more information on baptism, contact our Senior Pastor.