This represents one of the first opportunities for a pastor to meet with parents about God’s work of faith in the heart of their child and to encourage their active role in nurturing that faith. During the Baptism Ceremony, the family will receive a gift from the congregation of a Bible Story book, along with a certificate of baptism. Parents will also receive materials related to Maranatha’s Milestones and Cradle Roll.
Why is this Milestone important?
In Scripture, we read that God gives the gift of faith in baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:17), makes the baptized a part of His family (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 5:25-27), and forgives and cleanses us of sin (Titus 3:5-6; Colossians 2:10-11).
The baptism of an infant into God’s family presents an opportunity for the pastor and the parents to discuss God’s work in the child’s heart and then to encourage the parents to foster and to grow that gift of faith. It is the confession of our church that this gift of faith can be lost or neglected if it is not nurtured in the Word of God and prayer.
Who is involved?
In each baptism, God is present, bestowing His gifts. The child (or one being baptized, regardless of age) is receiving God’s gifts. The pastor, parents, sponsors, and the congregation all have important roles.
What is required of each one involved?
The child simply receives God’s gifts. The parents agree to teach and to train their child in the faith and to “instruct them in the word of God and nurture them in the fear and love of the Lord.” It is the sponsors (or godparents) responsibility to encourage the child’s parents, pray for them, assist them in the spiritual welfare of the child and to see that they are given instruction in the faith. On the day of the baptism, the congregation agrees to pray for the child and their parents. The pastor conducts the baptism and gives the parents the storybook Bible and other related material.
The pastor and parents should meet together ahead of the baptism to discuss this special day.
When does it occur?
The baptism of a child should occur as soon as is feasibly possible during a morning worship service.