Over this past winter, as we were teaching our students, we noticed that an increased amount of them were approaching our staff with questions about water baptism. Some just had questions about the purpose of water baptism, while others who had a solid understanding of the nature of baptism showed an intense desire to be baptized. We began to ask ourselves questions. When was the last time we taught on water baptism? How were we ensuring that this spiritual gift was offered to our students? We realized that the best thing to do in this case was to address this topic with the entirety of our youth ministry. We needed to teach them the principles of water baptism and offer them the opportunity to take this momentous step together with their peers.
But the real puzzle was how to do it right. We recognized that to do it properly, it had to be done in three stages: TEACHING, TRAINING and TRANSFORMATION.
The word of God is very clear about being baptized, as we see in Matthew 28:19-20. But many young people ask the question, “Why is baptism so important?” The word of God teaches that when someone becomes a Christian, they become a brand new person inside. The old person has passed away and a new life has begun. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. Baptism does not save you. It only illustrates what you already believe. It is an outward reflection of the commitment you have made in your heart to live for Jesus. Most importantly, we are baptized to demonstrate our obedience to Christ and to follow his example. We share with our students that being baptized in water symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as seen in Romans 6:3-4. When they are baptized, they are immersed in water, and come out of the water raised to a new life in Christ, making him the Lord of every area of their life.
Another important step in baptism is the preparation. There are practical things they need to know so that this special moment in their life will have a lasting impact. What we do is host a meeting with the students who are being baptized, and their parents. This meeting should not be very long, no more than 30-45 minutes max. In this meeting, we challenge the students and their parents to do the following prior to baptism.
- Begin preparing your heart at home by remembering how good God has been to you. Read through the scriptures we have provided for you. (Gal. 3:27, Mark 1:9, Acts 18:8, Acts 22:16)
- Plan to arrive at church one hour prior to the start of service. Upon arrival, you will be directed to a specific room in preparation for the baptism service.
- Encourage your friends and family to come and take part in celebrating your baptism with you.
- Remember to bring the following items with you:
- Baptismal Clothes: Dark colored or clothing that is not “see-through” such as a dark colored t-shirt and shorts or pants. The key is modesty.
- A necessity bag for toiletry items such as deodorant, hair dryer, etc.
- A plastic bag large enough to hold your wet clothing.
- A change of clothing to wear after you have been baptized
- If you should have any questions regarding the baptism, please do not hesitate to contact the Student Ministry offices.
A major part of the transformation for the student comes by way of the structure of the baptismal service itself. One of the most powerful aspects of the service is the video testimonies. Each student is encouraged to share their personal story on video concerning when, how and why they decided to be baptized. The video testimonies are an excellent way for the students to help others who are in attendance to celebrate and stand in faith with them. They also use their story to impact the lives of those who have not experienced a transformed life with Christ. Baptism is a very important step of obedience for every person who has accepted Christ into his or her life. Consider it a privilege to walk with this generation, as they desire to go deeper with God.
Download: Water Baptism Production Script
Baptism testimony video: