Holy Baptism is one of two sacraments in the Lutheran Church (Holy Communion is the other). Baptism is an event through which God’s promises of love and everlasting life in Christ are announced and enacted, and in which the person being baptized (or their parents, in the case of an infant baptism) makes vows to lead a Christian life. Please read below for more information about baptism at New Joy Lutheran Church.
- In obedience to the command of Christ, we baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19), the God who creates us, redeems us, and sanctifies us.
- Promises are spoken in baptism – by God, by the person baptized or their parents/guardians, by the sponsors, and by the congregation.
- Following a nearly 2000-year tradition, baptism involves confessing faith in God the Holy Trinity using the words of the Apostles Creed.
Baptism and Worship
Baptism is an initiation into the Christian faith and church.
- Christian faith is not lived alone, but in community (1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Matthew 18:20).
- Holy baptism takes place during the primary worship service of the congregation.
- Baptism may also take place in emergency circumstances, and then later affirmed in the presence of the congregation.
Essential Things in Baptism
Baptism includes water, God’s Word, and the community of faith.
- The essential things in baptism are the proclamation of God’s word and the promise of God joined with water (Acts 8:26-40; Mark 1:9-11).
- Baptism includes a gathered community to join in the proclamation of God’s Word and to welcome the newly baptized into the Christian faith and church.
- Baptism may include other gestures and symbols, such as a white garment for the baptized, an anointing with oil, special music, a presentation of the newly baptized to the gathered congregation, and a joyous celebration with family and friends following the baptism.
- While these other traditions are wonderful and can help us celebrate the joy of baptism, they are neither central nor required for baptism.
Preparation for Baptism
Baptism is preceded by instruction and prayer.
- Parents seeking to present their child for holy baptism, and adults seeking baptism for themselves, participate in pre-baptismal session(s) with the pastor and/or with designated lay leaders in the congregation.
- Those who present children for baptism or who seek baptism for themselves should be regular participants in the life of the church.
- Parents who seek baptism for their child are generally baptized Christians, and/or have sponsors for their children who are baptized Christians.
Baptismal Sponsors (“Godparents”)
Baptismal sponsors make a public vow to support the newly baptized in their Christian life.
- Baptismal Sponsors are people who are able to make a public commitment to support the newly baptized in their Christian faith and active participation in the life of the church.
- While many family members and friends will surround the newly baptized with love and care, only those people who are able to make a public commitment to support the newly baptized in their Christian faith should serve as Baptismal Sponsors. As such, friends and family of other faiths or who do not profess any faith may not be comfortable making such a vow.
- While it is normal for the Baptismal Sponsors to be present at the baptism, circumstances may prevent a sponsor from attending the baptism. The role of a baptismal sponsor extends throughout their lifetime, not just for the baptismal date.
- In some cultures and communities at the baptism of a child, especially in previous eras, Godparents promised to raise their Godchildren in the event of the death of the children’s birthparents. No such obligation or legal commitment is inferred by serving as a Baptismal Sponsor.
- The congregation that surrounds the newly baptized also promises to nurture the newly baptized in faith and support the child in their Christian life.
Scheduling a Baptism
We seek to be very flexible in scheduling baptisms.
- The pastor has discretion in deciding when baptisms take place.
- Not every Sunday in the church year or in the program life of New Joy Lutheran Church is appropriate for a baptism.
- Baptisms normally require 3-6 weeks to schedule, allowing for pre-baptismal instruction and time to select an appropriate Sunday in coordination with the worship and administrative staff at New Joy Lutheran Church. Please contact the church office to schedule a baptism.