Questions and Answers
At Celebrate Church, there is no pressure for you to become a member. However, if membership or baptism is something that you’re interested in, we’d love to have you take that next step! We’ll match you up with a mentor that will lead you through our Exploring Faith curriculum.
People often have questions regarding baptism:
Why should I be baptized?
What if I’ve already been baptized—do I have to do it again?
Does it matter if someone is sprinkled or dunked?
Can my child be baptized?
At Celebrate, we want to walk with you through this decision and we have some helpful ways to make membership meaningful. To learn more, read further or contact Aubrey Schneider if you have questions.
Baptism is a sign and seal of God’s promises to people who put their confidence in Jesus Christ.
God promises to forgive our sins, adopt us into His family, send the Holy Spirit daily to renew and cleanse us, and to resurrect us to eternal life. These promises are made visible in the water of baptism. Water cleanses, purifies, refreshes and sustains. Jesus Christ is living water who makes these promises available to us before we ever turn to Him.
Baptism is also a declaration of a person devoting their life to Jesus. In baptism, a person commits to love and trust God completely, to follow Jesus in obedience, to forsake evil, and to live a new and holy life.
Once baptized, a Christian remembers that God’s mercy continues to cleanse even when one falls into sin. At the same, time a Christian is reminded to lose their lives daily in order to follow Jesus into the life He offers.
Baptism is available for adults who are ready to publicly profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Part of choosing to follow Jesus includes a renouncing of sin and the power of evil in one’s life.
Baptism signifies entry into the faith community. Therefore, when a person who has not been baptized wishes to join the church, their baptism and joining the church take place simultaneously. Baptism is also a picture of salvation that can strengthen the faith of others who are present. Additionally, in baptism, the congregation promises to support those entering the community of faith. Thus, as much as is possible, baptism is to take place in a public setting such as Sunday morning worship.
In order for an adult to be baptized at Celebrate Church, they must meet with at least one of the church elders or pastors. This is a time in which primary beliefs about faith in Christ are discussed. It also provides an opportunity for one to share their personal faith journey. From this point, it is decided whether the next best step is to continue exploring more about following Jesus, or to set up a date for publicly affirming the faith and being baptized.
In the Bible, the age of passage from childhood to adulthood was twelve. In our contemporary culture, this transition takes place over a longer period of time called adolescence. Because twelve could be considered the spiritual age of decision but is not yet full adulthood in our society an alternative path toward baptism is made available to teenagers.
The teenage profession of faith process is available to all teenagers, whether baptized or not. Teenagers meet with a mentor six times to explore the basics of what it means to follow Jesus in faith and decide whether they are ready to publicly commit to this faith on their own. Baptism accompanies profession of faith for those who have not already experienced this sacrament as a child. Those who have already been baptized are anointed with oil.
At Celebrate Church we acknowledge that there are a variety of (sometimes strongly held) views regarding the meaning and practice of baptism among Christian groups. This is especially true concerning the belief of whether or not children should be baptized. Our desire is to honor the strengths found in these different perspectives rather than try to argue or persuade others toward a position that they reject on biblical grounds. At the same time, we choose to practice baptism according to the faith tradition from which our church derives, namely the Reformed Church in America.
The Reformed faith places an emphasis on God’s initiating love and on being part of God’s covenant community. These are the primary reasons that at Celebrate we baptize children of believing parents. In baptizing a child we acknowledge that before a person moves toward a relationship with God, God has already moved toward us in sending Jesus. Additionally, because a parent or both parents are committed to God’s covenant community, we believe their child(ren) can be identified as part of this community through baptism. In this way, all the promises of God are available to the child until they can make a decision of whether or not to follow Jesus on their own. In the meantime, the faith community commits to helping the parents in guiding children and setting an example of following Jesus.
When parents would like their children to be baptized, they attend a Little Blessings class and meet with elders. Parents are asked if they have or will publicly profess their own faith in Christ. Furthermore, they are asked if they will commit to raising the child in the way of salvation through Jesus. If that is the case, a date is set when baptism can take place.
Between the ages of five and twelve, it is difficult to determine whether or not baptism should be based on the parent’s faith & commitment or the child’s. Often parents from a believer’s baptism orientation choose not to baptize their child when an infant. These children often develop a relationship with Jesus but are not developmentally able to commit to the degree of those who are older. Thus, extra care is taken when elders meet with these children and/or their parents to discuss whether this is the right time for baptism to take place. A Faith Commitment class is offered and parents and child are required to attend.
Although Celebrate practices child baptism there is a realization that some guardians may want to reserve baptism for the time of their child’s personal profession of faith. In this situation, persons may choose to have their children ‘dedicated’ to the Lord. An elder or minister from Celebrate may preside over such a ceremony if so desired by the family. However, rather than taking place in worship, such dedications will occur in more informal settings.
Celebrate does not endorse re-baptism. There is one baptism. Thus, a person who has received a Christian baptism does not need to be baptized again – even if it occurred as a child, one did so as an adult but fell away, one didn’t really “mean it” the first time, or one did so in a different tradition (such as Roman Catholic).
Celebrate does promote remembering one’s baptism. That is to say continually reminding those who are baptized the meaning and assurance that comes from their baptism. And especially connecting affirmation and profession of faith with remembering one’s baptism.
In that light, Celebrate does not believe that having already been baptized should prohibit a person from remembering their baptism experientially with water if that would be meaningful to the person. Typically this could occur through one touching the baptismal water & perhaps putting it on their head. But it could also mean being immersed as a means of renewing one’s commitment to the Lord.