Essex Alliance Church Baptism Children s Edition

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1 Essex Alliance Church Baptism Children s Edition Welcome! We are glad you are interested in learning more about Baptism. This short class will tell you the meaning of baptism: what it is, what it is not, and some specifics on how we do baptism here at Essex Alliance. This is an important step you are taking, so be sure to ask any questions you have to your parents, your Sunday morning shepherd, or Pastor Mike. What is Baptism? Baptism is a symbolic step we take in our walk with Jesus. It is an outward expression of an inward decision that we have made to accept Jesus as our Forever Friend. Here at Essex Alliance Church we believe in what is called a believer s baptism. This means you are baptized once you fully understand what it means to be a Christian. If you are not sure what that means, then you are not ready to be baptized. It is good to wait a little while until you are sure if you are a Christian and what it means to be a Christian. When we have a baptism here at the church, we have a special service usually on a Sunday evening. We have some special praise and worship time (singing songs), and then people tell their story how they came to know Jesus. There is a tub of water (called a baptismal tank) that is up on the stage in the sanctuary under where the choir normally sings on Sunday. This tub is filled with warm water, and the person being baptized goes into the tub using stairs built into it to be immersed (put under) the water for a moment. By going under the water, you will be showing how you became a believer in Jesus: spiritually dirty before due to sin, washed completely clean by Jesus, and coming out a new person. What does Baptism not mean? Baptism is not a requirement for us to get to heaven. Our faith and belief in Jesus is all that is needed for salvation (being saved from our sins, restarting our friendship with God, and being allowed into heaven). God does want us to get baptized, but this is to show others that we are a new person in Christ. It also shows that you are willing to be obedient to God s commands. Why should I get baptized? Baptism is something you should do to show others you are a follower of Christ. By being baptized, it will also help you remember your decision to become of disciple of Jesus and have Him be your Forever Friend. I was baptized as a baby, doesn t that count? You cannot have a believer s baptism until you are a follower of Christ and are old enough to understand what this means. Babies do not know anything about sin, Jesus death on the cross, repentance, salvation, the Bible or being a follower of Jesus. At Essex Alliance, we dedicate babies and young children instead of baptizing them. The dedication ceremony is a way for parents to honor God. Dedication helps parents remember that children are a gift from God and they have a responsibility in raising children and teaching them about God. What do I have to do to be baptized? The first requirement is that you are a Christian. You have to have asked Jesus to be your Forever Friend (adults use the words Lord and Savior meaning you want Jesus in your life each day and you will follow Him). If you are not sure, read through the section in this booklet about how to join God s family. Talk to your parents for advice. If you think you are ready, next you need to attend one of our baptism classes. Then you have to write out your story of how you came to know Jesus (we call this a faith story). There is help later in this booklet on how to write your story. Then arrive on time on the night of the baptism and enjoy the experience! 1 Rev 2/09

2 What is Baptism? B does not get you into heaven We can only get to heaven through our belief and faith in Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 says God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. John 14:6 says Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. A of devotion Devotion means doing thing something out of deep love and commitment. We get baptized as an act of devotion to show Jesus that we love Him and are committed to follow His Word. 1 John 4:19 says We love because he [Jesus] first loved us. Matthew 28:19 says Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. P of Jesus death, burial and resurrection Your baptism is a picture of the things that Jesus did for you at Easter. During baptism, standing in the water is like Christ being on the cross. Going under the water is like Christ dying and being put in the tomb. Coming out of the water is like Christ being raised on the third day! There are a few ways of doing baptism: immersion (being completely underwater), pouring some water over a person, or sprinkling a little water. We use immersion (being completely underwater for just a moment) at Essex Alliance since it is the best picture of Jesus death, burial and resurrection. Colossians 2:12 says For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. T who believe should be baptized Did you know that baptism is only for those who have asked Jesus to be their Forever Friend? Why? Because baptism is an outward statement of an inward commitment! Matthew 28:19 says Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 2 Rev 2/09

3 I with Christ When you wear a baseball hat or your school s T-shirt you are telling everyone that you are loyal to and identifying with that team or school. When you are baptized you are telling everyone that you are identifying with Jesus and are going to follow Him. Romans 6:4 says For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. S of belief in Jesus, God s Son Do you know anyone who wears a necklace with a cross on it? Are they still a Christian if the take the cross necklace off? Yes! Why? Because the cross necklace is an outward symbol of an inward commitment. Baptism is a symbol of your commitment and decision to follow Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4 says Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! M be in front of others Baptism must be done in front of others in order to be (you know what s coming) an outward statement of your inward commitment. In the days of the early Christians, baptism was often a big event done outside of a city. By being baptized in front of everyone of the town, a new Christian was publicly saying they were starting a new life as a Christian. Matthew 10:32 says If anyone acknowledges me [Jesus] publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. In case you missed any of the answers: B Baptism does not get you into heaven A Act of devotion P Picture of Jesus death, burial and resurrection T Those who believe should be baptized I Identify with Christ S Symbol of belief in Jesus, God s Son M Must be in front of others Note: scripture references are from the New Living Translation 3 Rev 2/09

4 How Do I Join God s Family? Answer: Admit, Believe and Change! A you have done wrong (sinned) Tell God that you admit that you have done wrong things (sinned) and that you are sorry for those sins. Tell God you want to turn away from doing the wrong things anymore (this is called repenting, or turning away from sin). Romans 3:23-24 For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. Acts 3:19 Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins B in Jesus, God s Son and your Forever Friend Tell God that you believe that He does love you and that He did send His Son, Jesus, to earth to die on the cross so that you could be forgiven. Thank Jesus for dying for you on the cross. Tell Jesus that you believe in Him and want Him to be your Forever Friend. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners 1 Peter 3:18 Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. Romans 10:9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved Acts 16:30-31 He brought them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household. C and C to follow Jesus Tell God you are ready to change and be a daily follower of Jesus. Commit to be reborn in Christ: Alive to Jesus, dead to your old ways of doing wrong things. John 1:12-13 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan--this rebirth comes from God 2 Corinthians 5:17 What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! Galatians 3:26 So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus [Note: scripture references are from the New Living Translation] 4 Rev 2/09

5 Guidelines for Your Baptism 1. Writing Your Faith Story Your story helps others know how you decided to make your decision to ask Jesus to be your Forever Friend. It does not have to be a long story, and is actually better for you just to write a paragraph or two. Be as specific as you can be, but do not include details that will only be of interest to you or require a lot of detail to understand. Think about your story in four parts: Before Christ - What was life like before I decided to make Jesus my forever friend? What kind of things did I do or think? Did I have any problems I could not seem to solve? At the Cross - How did I commit my life to Jesus? Where was I? What was I doing? Who helped me know I needed Jesus, that He loves me, and how to ask him to be my Forever Friend? After Believing - Now that Jesus is my Forever Friend, how am I different? You might want to talk about this with your parents. Ask them what difference they see in you since you asked Jesus for forgiveness and made Him your Savior. It could be a difference at home, at school, with your friends, with how you see yourself or in many other ways. The Future - How do I think knowing Jesus is going to help me in the future? Am I going to tell others about Jesus? If so, who and how? 2. Faith questions Baptism is a great step in your faith journey with Jesus. It will have the most meaning if you are able to understand and explain what following Jesus means. Once your story is done, write down your answers to these important questions. Don t worry about using a lot of church words, just write down what you know in your own words. If you don t know the answer, that is OK. Just write that you are not sure how to answer the question. Pastor Mike will be glad to talk with you and help you learn the answer. Why do you want to be baptized? What will being baptized mean to you? What do you have to do in order to get to go to heaven? Are there many ways to be able to go to heaven? Have you ever sinned? What does sin do to us and to our relationship with God? How do we get rid of our sin? Can you be a follower of Jesus and still sin? Why is it important to believe and follow Jesus? What does having Jesus be your forever friend mean to you? What does following Jesus look like? Please type and your story and answers to Pastor Mike at by. 3. Choose a Person to Baptize You Here at our church, any Christian can perform the baptism, not just pastors! We encourage you to choose someone who has played an important part in your coming to Jesus, particularly one of your parents. Some other ideas include grand parents, your Sunday morning shepherd, or another Christian adult friend. Be sure the person you choose is willing to baptize you before telling Pastor Mike. If the person you choose is not comfortable doing the baptism, you might want the person with you as a water witness. A water witness is a person who person will stand by your side as you are being baptized. The water witness should be a person who has had an important part in your spiritual journey. Please let Pastor Mike know if you are going to have a water witness with you. 4. What should I wear and bring? Wear discreet clothing that will not be transparent when wet. For instance, it is a good choice to wear a swimming suit or shorts with a non-white t-shirt over the top. Flip flops are great! Bring a towel and a dry change of clothes for after your baptism. (It will be cold outside when you leave, so warm dry clothes are important!) 5. When and where do I need to be? When (30 minutes before the service -Dressed for the tank) Where 5 Rev 2/09

6 Parents- A Note to Parents I am excited about your child s interest in being baptized. Baptism is a great experience, and a chance for kids to express the decision they have made to have Christ be their Lord and Savior (or Forever Friend as we say in Children s Ministries!). Baptism is an experience that only has meaning when someone has made a complete commitment to Jesus, and can understand what it all means: their own sin, their need for a Savior, Christ s love for them and His atoning work on the cross. As such, part of our process for getting ready for baptism is to make sure that kids are really there with their decision. Writing their personal faith story is a major part of this process. I encourage you to work with your child as they write down what it means to be a follower of Christ, making sure that they express it in their own words. Ask your child questions about what they write, and what they think it means to be a follower of Christ. Spend some time talking through the ABCs of Joining God s Family found on page 4 of this class booklet. Sometimes, I find that kids may not be completely ready to be baptized. As I read their story, I will likely send back some questions which might need some editing or a fuller explanation. Between you and I, we need to determine if the child has a firm grasp on their own salvation in Christ. If we find that they are not quite ready, I will suggest that we wait until another baptism service when they are a little older and further in their walk with Christ. As parents, we always want our kids to succeed, but please understand that waiting can be the best path to making sure that your child does succeed in their faith by having a true, understood commitment to Christ. Remember, baptism is not required to go to heaven, so waiting can be a great choice. Please make sure that you your child s story as soon as possible before the deadline date. Once I receive it, I will contact you, and we will setup an appointment with you, your child and me to talk about their story. I will ask some questions about their story, and we will make sure they are ready to be baptized. Don t worry I m not looking for your child to be an expert on theology just that they clearly understand the basics of their faith in Jesus. The outcome of this meeting is likely a little more homework on updating the story and doing the final edits. Once the final edits are done, I will contact you and setup a time that we can video tape your child giving their story. They don t have to have it fully memorized and I will help them express their thoughts. Once all the kids are video taped, I create a short compilation of their stories that we show during the service. And of course, I will make sure that your family gets a copy of the video! A couple other quick notes: The story can be ed to me at or mailed to the church address (37 Old Stage Road, Essex Junction, VT 05452). Please do not give the story to the church welcome desk, ushers or greeters on a Sunday, as sometimes they do not make it all the way to me. For the video taping, please have your child wear something that is NOT green. We film in front of a green screen for overlaying the children over a water effect background. I strongly encourage kids to pick a parent or important mentor to be the one to baptize them. I love baptizing kids, but it will have even more meaning if mom, dad or other family member is the one in the tank. If your child picks you - don t worry! We will provide training for you just before the service. On the night of the baptism, arrive at least 30 minutes early. The service is very popular, and we want to make sure your family has great seats. Your child and whomever is baptizing them will need to meet with me 20 minutes before the service for final instructions, and they will need to be dressed for the tank at this point. Have your child dress in discrete, non-white clothing because white become transparent when wet. I suggest they wear a bathing suit or shorts, with a t-shirt over the top. I ll actually give your child a special t-shirt before the service; they can decide if they want to wear it to be baptized in or not. Bare foot or flip flops are great choices, as it makes getting in and out of the tank easy. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. There are few things in life that are as exciting as having your child accept Christ, and then take the step of faith to be baptized. Thanks for letting me be part of that journey with your family. God s Blessings - 6 Rev 2/09

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