This page is designed to answer frequently asked questions about the meaning, requirements, and methods of Holy Baptism at Pendleton Center United Methodist Church. For more information, contact the church office.
Baptism is the public ceremony declaring to the world our faith commitment to Jesus Christ and a vow to live as a Christian. Our salvation comes from our faith that Jesus Christ will remove our sins and grant us eternal life and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. This faith is demonstrated to God in confession of our sinful nature and our repentance, which means a genuine intent to change our way of living toward a more Godly life. Baptism is the outward act of confession that demonstrates to humanity the commitment we have made to God. Baptism represents our entrance into the Christian church and is therefore closely related to church membership.
Baptism is the public ceremony declaring to the world the faith commitment to Jesus Christ of the parents, or guardians, of a child. It is a solemn promise to God seeking His blessing and the assistance of the church in immersing the child in the Christian faith. It is a vow to raise a child as a Christian in such a complete way that the child will be naturally inclined to declare their faith in God. Baptism of a child is made complete in the act of Confirmation when a child “confirms” the Baptismal vows the parents made.
A genuine faith commitment in Jesus Christ is the requirement for Baptism as an adult. However, since only God can judge the sincerity of a heart, the church must judge the fruit of a person’s heart by their actions to ascertain if the Sacrament of Baptism should be administered. Since they are so closely related, the requirements for adult Baptism in our church are the same as those for church membership. These include: regular attendance in worship, active participation in the life of our church, support of the church through prayers and gifts of time and wealth. Attendance at a membership class where these expectations are clearly explained is required.
The requirement for a youth to be baptized is to participate in our Confirmation experience.
It is expected the parents will be genuine in their commitment to raise the child in a Christian church. Since only God can judge a person’s heart, the church discerns how genuine the parents’ commitment is by the fruits or actions that proceed from their hearts. It is expected the child will be brought to church and enrolled in Christian education to be given the knowledge necessary to develop their personal decision for Christ. It is assumed the parents or guardians will be members of the church or intending to join the church. It is expected the church will make a serious commitment to assist the parents in developing the child’s Christian growth.
Our church offers the Sacrament of Baptism for adults in three forms: sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. Each of these is equally valid in the eyes of God and the choice is the preference of the candidate. A child is normally baptized by sprinkling; however, pouring or washing are also acceptable forms of Baptism.
Baptism is the outward sign of an inward faith. Young children are in a state of blissful innocence incapable of intentionally choosing to do evil. They are in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve until they reach the age when they become aware of the difference between good and evil and choose evil. At this point they must choose Christ for themselves. Therefore, a child will not go to Hell if they are not baptized.
Baptism is not an act of salvation without a genuine faith commitment. If the individual or parents are not genuine in their faith commitment, Baptism has no bearing on the child’s salvation and may actually be insulting to God. A sacred vow to God asks for blessings if it is kept and curses if it is not.
Our church does not require Godparents or Sponsors. For adults we assign a Shepherd to be a sponsor. However, if a person chooses to have another Christian sponsor them as well, that is acceptable. For a child, Godparents are chosen at the discretion of the parents. The role of a sponsor or Godparent is to help the individual or child to grow in Christ. God parents should be Christians who will commit to helping the child mature in their faith.
The pastor of the church.
The church is the best manifestation of the kingdom of God we have on earth. It is the body of Christ. If we are not connected to the body, we are cut off from Christ. Christianity is a very personal and very communal faith. The church is where we worship, learn, receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, fellowship with other believers and best utilize our gifts for ministry. Without the church a person’s faith is at best very weak and likely to fail. For a child, the church is the only place the Christian values and beliefs of the parents will be reinforced. Without the church, it is the parent’s word against the world’s. If a parent’s faith demonstrates a deep commitment of time and gifts to the body of Christ, a child will consider their faith important as well.
Call the office to schedule the date.
Private Baptisms will only be offered under situations where health issues do not allow the person to be baptized at the Church.
Generally, we allow Baptisms at most services, but during certain services we discourage Baptisms because of scheduling or activity conflicts. (We want the Baptism to be a highlight of the service and not overshadowed by other activities that day.)
We will, at the discretion of the pastor, baptize a child on behalf of another church with a written request from the Pastor of that church.
A child who has not been baptized by the age of nine is encouraged to wait to be baptized after attending Baptism/Confirmation classes when they reach seventh grade.
Our church recognizes the Baptism rites of all churches recognized as Christian by the United Methodist Church (which includes most Christian churches). So we do not re-baptize people. If you have a question about the validity of your baptism, please ask. We do offer services to remember our baptism.