Baptism

Baptism: In Community

Baptism provides God’s family with a beautiful opportunity to say, “Welcome to the family!” Below you’ll find easily adaptable ideas to help your church do that with arms open wide. 

Baptism Practices

  • Following a baptism at The Journey CRC in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, all ages are invited to come forward, surround the one who has been baptized and their family, lay hands on them, and pray for them as the microphone is passed around. This practice has led to beautiful moments in which persons of all ages, from preschoolers to grandparents, pray aloud for the newest member of God’s family.

  • We love this idea from Christ Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida:
    Before the baptism of three-year-old Landon, the children of the church were invited by church education director Vickie Caro Deith to contribute to a letter that began, “Dear Landon, We are excited you are being baptized today. As part of your church family we look forward to sharing Jesus’ love with you. To help you know who Jesus is we will . . .” The ideas the children added included “give you comfort,” “be kind to you,” “help you fall asleep.” The letter was signed “Welcome to the family! Your brothers and sisters in Christ, the CPC Kids.” How might you use an idea like this to welcome a child into your church family?

  • Welcome the child into God’s family after baptism as he or she is carried throughout the sanctuary by a pastor, elder, or other congregation member.

  • Give the child a personal letter written by the pastor as a reminder of the baptism.

  • Invite older siblings of the child to pour the water into the basin before the baptism.

  • Light a candle from the Christ candle, keeping it lit during the baptism service, and give it to the family afterward with an encouragement to light it each year on the anniversary of the baptism as a celebration and reminder.

  • Gather photos of other members of the child’s family or the church family who have been baptized. Display or project them during the service as a reminder of the scope of God’s family.

  • For more suggestions, check out the selection of shared ideas on baptism at Church Hub.

Supporting New Parents

  • New Baby Ministry: Churches Supporting Parents describes how one church is using a visit prior to baptism to meaningfully connect with parents. What might you include in a welcome package from your church family?
  • The Baptism of Children: A Guide for Parents - If you're planning a baptism or are curious about the Christian Reformed Church's stance on infant baptism, this free booklet is a great resource. It also includes a brief list of resources that can help parents nurture their children's spiritual life.

Baptism Gifts

  • In addition to providing families with Bible stories written especially for young children, each of the God Loves Me storybooks includes easy faith-forming activities for families to do at home. Purchase individual books or bless each family with a complete set.

  • Make a banner with the child’s name on it to use during the service and then give it to the family.

  • Some of the items in the “Scripture Swaddle” line from Modern Burlap would make a beautiful baptism gift. They could also be used as a backdrop for a photo wall. How might you use such an idea with your congregation?

  • Many congregations give a candle to their newest member at baptism, to be lit on the anniversary of the baptism each year. When babies and children are baptized at Willoughby CRC in Langley, British Columbia, families also receive this liturgy to use at home each year.

  • Give one of the picture books listed below to new parents.

Baptism: At Home

For Parents

  • The Baptism of Your Child: A Book for Families by Carol Wehreim answers common questions new parents and new members with small children may have about baptism, and it walks them through traditional elements of a baptismal service. It also includes information for parents on selecting Bible storybooks and praying with their child.

  • Living the Promises of Baptism: 101 Ideas for Parents is a Lutheran publication that provides parents with concrete daily-living ideas for forming the faith of their children from birth through their preteen years.

  • Home Grown Handbook for Christian Parenting by Karen Deboer (Faith Alive) provides parents with practical, real-world advice about how to help their children know and love God and how to build a home where their family can grow in faith together.

Remembering Your Child’s Baptism

  • In Love Letters: The Intentional Practice of Remembering Baptisms, Vickie Caro Deith describes the faith-forming plan her husband, Rev. Danny Deith, devised for celebrating the baptism of their daughter each year.

  • Lighting a baptism candle each year is another way to commemorate baptism. Make it easy for families to do this by providing them with a candle at baptism and some simple ideas for marking the occasion. Get inspired by reading a liturgy given to families at Willoughby CRC in Langley, British Columbia.

Picture Books about Baptism

The baptism of a baby or child provides an opportunity to bless families with rich resources they can use to nurture their child’s faith at home.

ⓒ 2018, Faith Formation Ministries, from the Family Faith Formation Toolkit (crcna.org/FaithFormation/toolkits)