Baptism is a very special moment on the journey of faith. It is a moment when God's presence and blessing meet us, and it is a moment when we make our personal commitment of faith in Jesus as Lord.
What is Baptism?
As a Baptist Church, we follow one of the key principles of the early church, that the believers believed, repented and were baptised. What this means is that following their acceptance of Jesus as their Lord, and their turning to new ways of living, the early Christians celebrated and proclaimed their new faith by means of baptism - they acknowledged publicly their faith and symbolised the washing away of sin by immersion in water.
At St Andrews Baptist Church we have a baptistery set into the floor, and hold services as people approach us asking for baptism. At a baptism service, the candidate(s) usually give a short testimony, explaining how they came to the decision to be baptised, and the whole service is set in the context of a celebration of faith.
Why do we baptise by full immersion?
Baptism means to immerse or dip under water. It symbolizes the dying of old self and rising a new creation in Christ. It is an outward expression of an inward grace.
Who can be baptised?
There are no set age limits on baptism, although those being baptised are expected to be old enough to have an understanding of the action they are taking. In practice, the youngest is usually early teens, our youngest candidate so far is 10 years, and there is no upper age limit. The key requirement is to be ready to publicly declare your faith in Jesus as Lord and to publicly commit yourself to Him. People come to baptism by many routes - some are baptised in early teens shortly after making their own private commitment to the Lord. Others may have started their life of faith in different denominations, and come to baptism after many years. In all cases, it is an act of obedience to the Lord of the inward grace of God's free love.
Thinking about baptism?
If you are interested in being baptised, speak to our minister, Revd. Brian Stocker. Once you have registered your interest, you will be invited to join our baptismal classes where you, together with our minister, will look closer at the meaning and reasons for baptism.
Children and Babies
As a church, we do not baptise or 'christen' babies or small children. Parents, however, often want to commit themselves publicly to the Christian upbringing of their children, and give thanks for the gift of their little ones. In this case, St Andrews offers a child dedication service.
What about Church Membership?
Wherever possible we try to encourage those being baptised to consider applying for church membership at the same time. However, there are those who want to come for baptism and want to consider looking at church membership at another time or those who want to come into church membership but not be baptised. This is not a barrier to coming for baptism.
We are also aware that different people all come to consider baptism at different stages of their life journey so please speak to our minister if you would like to investigate this topic further.
If however, you would like to consider baptism linked with church membership then you can find out more by speaking to our minister or our secretary.
What do you need to do?
When you have had a chance to think further about baptism or if you would like some help in thinking about it further, please contact our church office.