See one of the Leaders if you would like to be baptised. If you would like to know more about this than is written below, listen to the audio teaching from our Discipleship Course on ‘Baptism’.
“What is Baptism all about…?”
Baptism is a bit like wearing a badge. It shows everyone what you belong to and what is important to you. We believe ‘Baptism’ is important and would therefore strongly encourage all who believe in and follow Jesus to be baptised. Some people describe ‘Baptism’ as “an outward sign of inward faith”.
Pictures are powerful
The Bible helps us to understand how our being baptised identifies us with Jesus. Our going down into the water, then being brought back up again out of the water, is symbolic of when Jesus died, was buried, but was then raised to life! The past is “washed away” with the person concerned having literally been given a clean start. The Bible says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Why do people go right under the water…?”
The word “baptise” (from the Greek word ‘baptizo’) literally means to dip, plunge or immerse. Jesus was baptised in this way, as were his followers. In fact, most Christians worldwide are baptised by immersion today. There is nothing special or ‘magical’ about the water itself, but what we do know is that in the New Testament it was only Christian believers who were baptised, and this was because of their faith in Jesus. Their baptism was in response to the command of Jesus. They were already Christians – the water just got them wet…! We baptise people now for the same reason people were baptised 2,000 years ago.
“Does it matter if I was baptised as a baby…?”
No. Baptism for you being a ‘believer’ in no way invalidates your christening when you were a baby. This may well have been significant for you or your parents. You will have then been ‘welcomed’ into the Christian family, and probably prayed for, but you were not then ‘made’ into a Christian. This only happens when you make a decision yourself to follow Jesus. Many people have come to us having been christened as a baby but feel they now want to be baptised as a mark of their own conversion, their own decision to follow Jesus. While other Churches may celebrate the Christian faith in different ways, what matters is you having a relationship with God through Jesus, and that you now want to follow him and to live as a Christian.
“When should I be baptised…?”
As soon as possible. Some people in the Bible were baptised the same day as their conversion! See Acts 2: 41 and Acts 8: 26-39. This is not usually possible now, but if you are a Christian there is no need to put off doing what Jesus has expected of every believer. It is often easier to find excuses than it is to be obedient!
If you are under 16 years of age, however, it is important to talk to your parents – whose authority you are still under. We would not baptise anyone under 16 against the wishes of their parents or guardians. It may be right for you to wait until you are older, but we are happy to talk with you about this. Alternatively, visit a Christian bookshop where there will be literature there on ‘Believer’s Baptism’.
This Month, (February) Steve tells us about what is was like finding God. (Recorded: Sunday 8th April 2012)
There are surprisingly few references to ‘Communion’ (The Lord’s Supper) in the Bible, but it is central to what Christians hold dear…
Listen to a short talk on Communion: (duration 4:17)
Most people are aware that the bread is symbolic of the body of Jesus that was broken, the wine symbolic of his blood that was shed, but what is it really all about…?
Jesus took hold of these symbols on the night before he died and said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22: 19), but he did not say how, when, where or how often, and that is important. Often we tend to be influenced by our tradition or make a theology our of our preference.
Communion is many things:-
• An invitation to everyone who has blown it • A meal for Christians • A communal activity (Acts 2: 46, Acts 20: 7, 1 Cor 11: 18) • A sign of our unity (1 Cor 10: 17) • A priority • A sharing of the Gospel (1 Cor 11: 26) • Commanded by Jesus himself (Luke 22: 19) • To be enacted until Jesus returns (1 Cor 11: 26)
Probably the most used passage for Communion is where Paul is actually rebuking the Church at Corinth. The passage indicates that we need to be careful as to how we are in ourselves when we come together for Communion. “A person ought to examine their self..” (1 Cor 11: 28). This is a challenge for every Christian to take stock.
“How do you practise communion?” We usually have a loaf of bread, pre-cut into smaller pieces and small glasses of non-alcoholic red grape juice. These are sometimes served to the congregation, or sometimes we invite people forward to be served by a Church Member, or sometimes we have an ‘open table’, in other words, people can come to this table as and when they feel ready, they can then sit and reflect at the front, or return to their seat. Often the rest of the Church would be singing at the same point. The latter resembles something more Anglican in style but can be very meaningful. Style is not as important as meaning.
“How often do you practise communion…?” We usually break bread (another term for communion) on the Second Sunday evening in the month and the forth Sunday morning, unless either of these are guest services. We also encourage our ‘LIFE Groups‘ to share communion together from time to time when they meet together. the early Church practised this in peoples’ homes too (Acts 2 : 42-47)
You can read more about where ‘Communion’ occurs in the Bible in
“Still unsure if this is for you…?” The Good News is that whoever we are, and whatever we have done, remembering why Jesus died is the right place for each of us to find God’s forgiveness afresh… If you are unsure of where you are on your spiritual journey, or you have never asked God to give you a fresh start, why not click on the page ‘Becoming a Christian’ to find out more.