One of the best Sundays at our church is baptism Sunday! If you ask around SCC, most people will tell you how much they love baptism Sunday. But why? What is about people getting dunked in a tank of water that makes everyone so excited, so emotional? I mean, you’ll see grown men cry and usually quiet women yell and cheer on baptism Sunday. What’s going on that’s so special?
You ask brilliant questions! Let’s answer some of them.
Why do you baptize people? - First off, we always want to look at what the Bible says about it. In the stories of Jesus (Matthew 3, Luke 3, John 1) Jesus himself is baptized by John. John was so good at baptizing people that they gave him the last name of “the Baptist”. (Ok, maybe not, but it sounds good.) John was baptizing people who wanted to show that they were serious about following God, and wanted a fresh start. Jesus submits to this baptism in obedience to God, and God the Father tells him that He is really pleased with Jesus for obeying.
In Matthew 28:19,20 Jesus tells His followers to go out into the whole world, teach people to follow Jesus’ teachings, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Being baptism was how they were to show publicly that they were going to follow Jesus’ teachings and trust Him as the one who was saving them.
Throughout the rest of the New Testament (Acts 8:36-39, Acts 10:48, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:1-18, and Colossians 2:12) baptism is seen as an act that follows a commitment to Jesus as a person’s leader and savior. That is what we try to follow here at SCC. So with that in mind, let’s try to answer some more of your questions.
Do I need to be baptized for Jesus to forgive me? – No. It’s an easy thing to misunderstand. We see someone get baptized, and the visual of them going under water and coming back up fits with the idea that they were sinful going in the water, then the water washed them clean, and when they come up, they are forgiven. But that’s not the case. Baptism is a symbol of the forgiveness we received when Jesus died on the cross a couple of thousand years ago. It’s a very important, spiritual event that symbolizes a relationship that has already begun.
Do I need to be baptized to serve at SCC? – No. We believe that everyone who decides to follow Jesus should be baptized, because He calls for us to. It’s an act of obedience, but we realize everyone makes their own decisions about if and when. You can be an active part of our church, whether you’ve been baptized or not.
If I was baptized as a kid, does that count? – This one is up to the person. We have many people who were baptized as children, but they decide to be baptized again as adults. It is because in their mind, they didn’t really understand what they were doing, and feel like they want to make a public statement as adults. Other people were baptized as kids, and stand on that. I was baptized at 14 years old, and have not been baptized again. I believe I knew what I was doing at the time, and am have never felt a need to be baptized again. We also don’t set an age limit. We believe if a person wants to be baptized, and understands what Jesus has done for them, they are eligible.
I have a personal challenge, do I have to be baptized on a Sunday morning? – No, you don’t. We’ve done baptisms at different times and places (swimming pools, hospital beds, at their homes, etc.). Some people have different challenges that make our Sunday baptisms extremely difficult for them. We are happy to work with anyone to accommodate them. We will strongly encourage you to try and be a part of a Sunday morning baptism, just because they are so powerful, and such a big part in discovering your family here at SCC.
What are baptism services like? – They are a lot of fun. Not “church fun”, like where someone gets crazy and changes the order of a worship song on the fly, or tells a funny joke from the stage. Real life fun, the kind that everyone enjoys and remembers. The kind of fun where you walk away thinking “I want to do that again!” We celebrate the people who are getting baptized, and more importantly we get really loud and excited about the stories of what Jesus is doing in the lives of the people getting baptized. We usually show a video of those stories, we give people in the church a chance to stand up and share their excitement and pride of someone who is getting baptized, we sing and cheer, and we shout like the Colts scored a touchdown every time someone goes in the water and comes back up.
Ok, ok, I get it. It’s fun. So why should I get baptized? – Because you love Jesus and want to obey Him. You know He has forgiven you, and you’re trusting Him with your very life. Don’t do it to make your family happy. Don’t do it to feel better about yourself. Don’t do it to convince God to forgive you. Those are not good reasons. Do it because you’re excited about the fact that Jesus came for you, and loves you. At the end of the day, the whole thing is about you and Jesus, no one else.
What are these baptism classes I hear about? - We offer baptism classes for children and teens, and a separate class for adults. We highly encourage, almost to the point of requiring, everyone to go to one of these classes. They will help so much with your questions. They are offered a couple of weeks before each baptism Sunday. They are during one of the Sunday morning services, and only last for about 90 minutes. You can sign up on a clipboard on the Info Wall in the church lobby, or by emailing our admin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope this helps a little. If you have more questions, shoot us an email or call us anytime. We’ll do our best to help you come to a great decision on whether or not baptism is for you.