This service was approved by the Synod of 1981 as a model order of worship that may be adapted to local needs. The "Confession and Assurance" and "The Sacrament of Baptism," however, have the status of a synodically approved form; these components are always to be read complete and unchanged.
*The Beginning of Worship
Call to Worship
Minister: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
People: He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations.
Minister: Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
People: That they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the Lord. (Ps. 105: 1, 8, 3, 45)
Minister: The Lord be with you.
People: And the Lord be with you.
Minister: Grace, mercy, and peace be to you, from God the Father and from his Son, Jesus Christ.
All sing: [Hymn of praise]
The Institution of Baptism
Minister: Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ: Let us hear the Lord's command concerning the sacrament of holy baptism. After he had risen victorious from the grave, Jesus said to his disciples: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28: 18-20). In obedience to this command the church baptizes believers and their children.
Confession and Assurance
Minister: Before we proceed with the baptism, let us hear what the law of God requires of us, that it may convince us of our sin and incite us to seek his mercy. Christ teaches this in summary: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matt. 22: 37-40).
All: We confess to you, our God, and before one another that we have sinned greatly, in thought, word, and deed. We have offended your holiness. We have failed to love our neighbor. We have followed the devices of our own hearts, and have spurned the promptings of your Spirit. Through our own fault, we have deserved your judgment. O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us and hear our prayer. Amen.
Minister: Let us hear the promises of God which are confirmed in baptism. The Lord made this great promise to Abraham: "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you" (Gen. 17: 7). In later years, though Israel was unfaithful, God renewed his promise through the prophet: "'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the Lord. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. . . . For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more'" (Jer.31: 33-34). In the fullness of time God came in Jesus Christ to give pardon and peace through the blood of the cross, the "blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt. 26: 28). After Jesus had risen from the dead, the apostles proclaimed: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2: 38-39). Anticipating the fulfillment of God's promises, Paul assures us, "If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him" (2 Tim. 2: 11-12). These are the unfailing promises of our Lord to those who are baptized.
*All sing: [Hymn of thanksgiving]
The Sacrament of Baptism
Minister: Let us recall the teaching of Scripture concerning the sacrament of baptism. The water of baptism signifies the washing away of our sin by the blood of Christ and the renewal of our lives by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3: 5). It also signifies that we are buried with Christ (Rom. 6: 4). From this we learn that our sin has been condemned by God, that we are to hate it and consider ourselves as having died to it. Moreover, the water of baptism signifies that we are raised with Christ (Col. 2: 12). From this we learn that we are to walk with Christ in newness of life. All this tells us that God has adopted us as his children: "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8: 17). Thus in baptism God seals the promises he gave when he made his covenant with us, calling us and our children to put our trust for life and death in Christ our Savior, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him in obedience and love. God graciously includes our children in his covenant, and all his promises are for them as well as us (Gen. 17: 7; Acts 2: 39). Jesus himself embraced little children, and blessed them (Mark 10: 16); and the apostle Paul said that children of believers are holy (1 Cor. 7: 14). So, just as children of the old covenant received the sign of circumcision, our children are given the sign of baptism. We are therefore always to teach our little ones that they have been set apart by baptism as God's own children.
The Prayer of Preparation
Minister: Father in heaven, we pray that you will never destroy us in our sin as with the flood, but save us as you saved believing Noah and his family and spare us as you spared the Israelites who walked safely through the sea. We pray that Christ, who went down into the Jordan and came up to receive the Spirit, who sank deep into death and was raised up Lord of life, will always keep us and our little ones in the grip of his hand. We pray, O holy Father, that your Spirit will separate us from sin and openly mark us with a faith that can stand the light of day and endure the dark of night. Prepare us now, O Lord, to respond with glad hope to your promises so that we, and all entrusted to our care, may drink deeply from the well of living water. We pray in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Minister: Since you have presented these children for holy baptism, you are asked to answer the following questions before God and his people:
First, do you confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, accept the promises of God, and affirm the truth of the Christian faith which is proclaimed in the Bible and confessed in this church of Christ?
Second, do you believe that your children, though sinful by nature, are received by God in Christ as members of his covenant, and therefore ought to be baptized?
Third, do you promise, in reliance on the Holy Spirit and with the help of the Christian community, to do all in your power to instruct these children in the Christian faith and to lead them by your example into the life of Christian discipleship?
Parents: We do, God helping us.
Minister: Do you, the people of the Lord, promise to receive these children in love, pray for them, help instruct them in the faith, and encourage and sustain them in the fellowship of believers?
People: We do, God helping us.
[The minister may say: Our Lord said: "Let little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Mark 10: 14).]
Minister: [in administering the sacrament the minister shall say]: (name), I baptize you into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
*All sing: [Hymn (optional)]
The Baptismal Prayer
Minister: Lord our God, forever faithful to your promises, we thank you for assuring us again that you will forgive us and receive us as children in Christ. Grant wisdom and love to the parents and to us all as we carry out the vows we have just made. We pray that you will govern these children by your Spirit and guide them throughout their lives. Help them see your fatherly goodness which surrounds us all and enable them to respond in faith to Jesus Christ, our chief teacher, eternal king, and only high priest. Give them strength to fight sin and endure trials. And when Christ returns, let them celebrate with all the people of God your greatness and goodness forever, in the joy of your new creation. Amen.
*All sing: [Hymn]
The Word of God
Prayer for Illumination
Minister: O God of all truth, be pleased to grant us your Spirit as we attend to your Word. Open our minds that we may understand what you have revealed to us. Release us from self-will that we may be ready to obey. And open our lips that our mouths may show forth your praise. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Minister: [Reading of the Scriptures]
[Post-sermon prayer (optional)]
*All sing: [Hymn]
Minister: [Intercessory prayer]
All: [Lord's Prayer in unison] Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,your kingdom come,your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
*All: [The Creed (optional)]
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
All: [Offering of gifts]
Minister: [Dedication prayer (optional)]
*All sing: [Doxology hymn]
Minister: Go in peace. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
*indicates congregation stands