What is baptism?
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward commitment made to Christ.
1. Baptism does not make you a believer - it shows that you already believe.
2. Baptism does not "save" you, only your faith in Christ does. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
3. Baptism does not wash away your sins, it symbolizes that Christ washed them away.
4. Baptism is like a wedding ring, it's the outward expression of the commitment you have made in your heart.
Why should I be baptized?
1. To follow Christ's example: (Mark 1:9)
2. To obey Christ's command: (Matthew 28:19-20)
3. To show you are a Christ-follower: (Acts 18:8, 1 John 2:3, Matthew 10:32)
4. To identify with Christ's death, burial and resurrection: (Romans 6:3-5)
5. To illustrate your new life in Christ: (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:4)
6. Your baptism is a public testimony of your faith in and commitment to Christ.
How should I be baptized?
The biblical examples of baptism were done by immersion or being submerged briefly under water.
1. Jesus was baptized by immersion: (Matthew 3:16)
2. The book of Acts is full of examples of baptism by immersion: (Acts 8:38-39). Words such as "went down into the water" and "out of the water" give evidence that biblical baptism was by immersion.
3. Immersion best symbolizes death and new life which is the imagery of baptism. In Romans 6:3-5 we find that baptism is symbolic of death, burial and resurrection.
What if I was baptized as a child or want my child baptized?
Some churches practice a "baptism of confirmation" for children. This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his/her own personal confession of Christ. This custom began about 300 years after the Bible was completed.
This is different from the practice of baptism we see in the Bible which was done by those who had made a personal decision for Christ. For this reason, we reserve baptism for those who are old enough to understand and choose to make a personal commitment to Christ. To not confuse the purpose and intent of baptism, at Sitka AG, a "child dedication" service is available to parents as a ceremony of covenant between parents and God on the behalf of the child. In many ways a "child dedication" service is truly a "parent dedication" service as parents publicly declare to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his/her own personal confession of Christ.
A child dedication service is held as requested during weekend service.
When should I be baptized?
After you give your life to Christ: (Acts 2:38, Acts 35-38.) As soon as you have given your life to Christ and have received Him as your Savior, you can and should be baptized. Excluding health problems, there is no reason to delay. If you wait until you're "perfect," you'll never feel "good enough". Jesus asks you to follow Him in baptism now.
What if I've been baptized before?
We are called to only once give a profession of our faith in Christ through baptism. If you have already been baptized by immersion in response to your faith and commitment to Christ, we do not ask you to be baptized again. However, we do allow you to be baptized again if you desire to do so after rededicating your life to Christ.
If you were baptized prior to faith in Christ, we ask you to consider the Bible's teachings and follow Christ in baptism. If you have questions we invite you to contact us.
At what age is a child ready to be baptized?
The Bible gives no age for when a child is ready to be baptized. For baptism to be a meaningful experience and expression of faith, its significance should be understood. Our desire is for a child to understand this important step of baptism in his/her life.
In child development, typically when children reach the age of 8 or 9, they gain the ability to understand abstract concepts. It is at this stage in child development that they gain the ability to understand imagery such as those concepts involved in baptism representing our spiritual death, burial, and resurrection. That being said, each baptism should be determined on a child-by-child basis.
What takes place at a baptism?
1. At the beginning of a baptism service the pastor will pray and then briefly explain the meaning of baptism. The pastor will introduce you and the other participants and share a brief description of your testimony.
2. When it is your turn to be baptized, you will get into the water with the person who will baptize you. The person baptizing you will say, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." The person baptizing you will briefly lower you backwards under the water and then raise you back up. You can then leave the water, towel off and watch others being baptized.
3. Note: For baptism, women should wear shorts and a dark t-shirt over a swimming suit. Men may wear a swimsuit of shorts with a dark t-shirt. Don't forget to bring a change of clothes, a towel and bag for your wet clothes. We do our best to provide a new shirt to each person being baptized.
What if I have special needs?
Baptism is a public profession of our faith in Jesus Christ. However, private baptism can be performed in special circumstances. Please contact us for more information or details.