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Stained Glass Light

What is Baptism? 


Baptism is a special ceremony in the Christian Church where water is used to symbolize purification, new beginnings, and admission to the Christian community. It can be done by sprinkling water on the forehead or by full immersion. In some denominations, babies are baptized and given a name as part of this ceremony.

Meaning of Baptism:

Baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For believers, it symbolizes leaving behind the old self and embracing a new life in Christ. The act of being immersed in water reflects the teachings of the Disciples movement.

Word to the Church on Baptism:

According to a statement by the Commission on Theology in 1987, baptism is a public declaration of God's grace, revealed through Jesus Christ. It involves a visible sign of God's initiative and an individual's response in faith. Baptism is seen as a divine gift received by faith, expressing new birth, cleansing from sin, and a pledge of life in the age to come.


A sacrament is a sacred ritual or rite with deep meaning. Baptism is considered a sacrament by some, and its significance lies in God's redemptive action in Christ, the unity it brings to the Christian community, and the anticipation of triumph over the challenges of the world.


An ordinance often refers to a sacred ritual or ceremony that is considered an outward expression of faith or obedience to divine commandments. These ordinances vary across different religious traditions but may include rituals such as baptism, communion, marriage ceremonies, and rites of passage.

Talking to Young People About Baptism

Dive into Faith:

Baptism is a special moment in the Christian Church, and it's like taking a deep dive into faith. Whether it's a sprinkle or a full-on plunge, it's a way of symbolizing new beginnings and joining the Christian community.

Baptism's Meaning:

Picture baptism as a symbol of a fresh start, much like the way Jesus did. When someone gets baptized, it's a commitment to leave behind old ways and embrace a new life following Jesus.

Understanding Baptism:

Many folks say that baptism is like a public announcement – telling everyone that God loves us. It's a visual way of expressing our belief in Jesus and receiving a special gift from God as a mark of our faith.

Sacrament and/or Ordinance Significance:

While an ordinance and a sacrament (big words) may seem the same, they are slightly different depending on a person's beliefs. We use both these words to talk about special things we do in our faith. An ordinance is something we do to show our commitment to God. It's important because it helps us remember our faith journey. On the other hand, a sacrament is not only a reminder but also believed to have a special connection to God's grace and presence in our lives.


Share: Have those around you share what they know about when they were baptized.

What does baptism mean to you? Is it different than these thoughts? Is it the same?

What do you like about water? I wonder why God used water?

Baptism Terms: ( 

  • Immersion: In which the whole body of the person is submerged in the water. 

  • Infant Baptism or Sprinkling: Sprinkling water on the forehead instead of full body immersion.

  • Confirmation: a rite administered to baptized persons, in some churches as a sacrament for confirming  and strengthening the recipient in the Christian faith, in others as a rite without sacramental character by which the recipient is admitted to full communion with the church.

Primary Baptism Scriptures

  • Isaiah 40:3 (NRSV):"A voice cries out: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.'"

The baptisms of Jesus are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, specifically in the Gospels. You can find these accounts in the following passages:

  • Matthew 3:13-17 (NRSV): "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him."

  • Mark 1:9-11 (NRSV): "In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan."

  • Luke 3:21-22 (NRSV): "Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened."

  • John 1:29-34 (NRSV): "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, 'Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.”'"

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