At Shore Fellowship we baptize people because Jesus told us that after a person has become His child and chosen to follow Him, they’re supposed to be baptized. The purpose is to show people both in the church and the community that they’ve become a follower or disciple of Jesus.
Thanks for your interest in baptism at Shore Fellowship. One of Jesus’ final instructions to His followers is found in Matthew 28:19
“Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
What is Baptism?
The baptize comes from the Greek word baptizo. Greeks used this word to mean dip or submerge.
As a religious practice, baptism was common in many ancient religions as part of ceremonial washings. In Judaism, people who weren’t Jewish and wanted to become Jews would baptize themselves as part of the process. During the life of Jesus, John the Baptist also baptized people, but the baptism he practiced was something new. John was baptizing people who were already Jewish, but who recognized that being Jewish wasn’t enough and that they needed to change their lives and begin obeying God from their heart.
In its original context, baptism symbolized cleansing from an old, wrong way of acting or thinking and identifying with a new, God honoring lifestyle. The baptisms also took place in public places so everyone in the community could see the difference Jesus had made in a persons life.
In Romans 6: 1-4, the apostle Paul explains the symbolism of Christian baptism - that just as Jesus died and was raised from the dead, we have died to our old way of life and have been raised to a new life as a result of trusting in Jesus.
That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.
Why be Baptized?
We are baptized because Jesus commands it. People sometimes get confused and believe that baptism will cause God to forgive them - or will help them get to heaven. The Bible clearly teaches that there is no good work we can do that will help us get to heaven, but it is a gift of God by grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We are also shown by example that baptism is not required for getting into heaven. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the thief hanging beside Him asked, “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” There was no opportunity for the thief to be baptized or perform any good works, but Jesus told the thief that He would see him in heaven that very day. (Luke 23: 42, 43)
When should someone be Baptized?
A person should be baptized after they have trusted in Jesus for forgiveness of their sins. Jesus tells us to make disciples and baptize - and we believe He meant it to be done in that order. That’s also the pattern we see in the Bible in places like Acts 8:38.
Since we want to be sure that a person being baptized fully understands their decision, we don’t baptize children under the age of 8. Depending on the child’s level of understanding, parents may want to encourage their kids to wait even longer until they’re mature enough to make the decision for themselves.
What if I was Baptized before?
If you were baptized as an infant or at any time before you trusted in Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, we encourage you to be baptized again.
How does Shore Fellowship do Baptism?
Whether it be during several Sunday mornings each year as part of our worship service, lake baptism at our annual church picnic each June (usually held the Sunday after Father’s Day), ocean baptism in August or special children baptism, Shore offers a number of opportunities to be baptized during the year.
If you’d like to be baptized at Shore Fellowship. . .
You must first attend our Newcomers Class where one of our pastors explains who we are as a church, what it means to be baptized and answers questions you may have about getting plugged in, partnering with us and growing deeper in your faith.
Fill out a baptism application expressing your interest in following our Lord in baptism. You will be contacted by a pastor to follow-up on your desire and schedule you to be baptized.
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