Lord’s Supper and Baptism are two of the most important rituals that Jesus taught his followers to practice. While Lord’s Supper is a repeated practice for those who are a part of the church (at Crossway we celebrate Lord’s Supper usually on the first Sunday of each month), Baptism is something that each person does once as a sign of his or her entrance into the family of Christ.
Water is always central in the practice of Baptism, and it provides a picture both of being washed for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 22:16) and of being buried with Christ in His death and raised with Him in His life (Romans 6:3-6 and Colossians 2:12). Baptism does not save people, and it is not necessary for salvation (Luke 23:39-43). Baptism is a wonderful picture of our identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and a joyous celebration by the church of new life in Christ!
Jesus commanded that all who become disciples, that is, who become children of God, are to be baptized in (or into) the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20).
Different churches practice Baptism in different ways. The two main models are known as infant baptism (or pedobaptism), and believer’s baptism (or credobaptism). In infant baptism, children of believing parents may be baptized before they are able to understand and respond to the Gospel. Usually this is done by sprinkling water on the head of the one who is being baptized, and it marks their entrance into the Covenant Community.
At Crossway, we recognize both kinds of baptisms based upon the conviction of the one who is baptized as well as the parents of infants.
In addition, we practice believer’s baptism, meaning that we baptize those individuals who give a genuine profession of personal and saving faith in Jesus Christ, whether that person is a child or an adult. We practice baptism by immersing people completely under water (being described as “having been buried with [Christ] in baptism” in Colossians 2:12).
While people are baptized as individuals, baptism at Crossway is also a church family event during which the church welcomes those being baptized into fellowship in the church in a new and richer way. So we anticipate having Baptism be a part of a regular worship service whenever possible. The ones being baptized will have the opportunity to share their stories of God’s work in his or her life to bring them to faith in Christ. The pastor (or other church representative) will then lower this person into the water and then raise him or her back up, reflecting the Bible’s description of participating both in Christ’s death and in His resurrection. The church will then rejoice together in this significant occasion!
Those who are interested in being baptized can ask the pastor or other church leader about it at any time. Also, we will have periodic times when people will be encouraged to consider being baptized who have not yet been baptized.
Those who are interested in pursuing infant baptism for their child are also encouraged to contact the pastor so arrangements can be made.