What does The United Methodist Church believe about baptism?
Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized by The United Methodist Church (the other being Communion). In a sacrament, God uses common elements — in this case, water — as means or vehicles of divine grace. Baptism is administered by the church as the Body of Christ. It is the act of God through the grace of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a symbol of rebirth and repentance by one who has accepted Christ and has repented of their sins.
Baptism of Children
Baptism is very important to God and to this church. We consider it a privilege to baptize a child. The founder of the United Methodist Church, John Wesley, stated, “The baptism of young children is to be retained in the church.” However, we recognize that some parents choose to save baptism until a child is old enough to make that decision on their own. This often takes place at the time of confirmation.
In the Old Testament, infant boys were circumcised to show that they were members under the covenant God had established with Abraham. This was done by the parents without the child’s consent. The parent’s intent was that through circumcision, they were placing the child under God’s promises. In the same way that infant boys were circumcised, now we present our children to God in baptism. In presenting our children to God, we enter into a covenant or an agreement with God on behalf of the child. More importantly, God enters into a covenant with us. We make a commitment before God and the church that we will raise our children in the knowledge of God.
It is important to understand that this baptism does not guarantee salvation. When a child is old enough, he or she must make the personal choice to receive Christ. If you are interested in having your child baptized, you may contact one of the pastors or the church office.
We are happy to do baptisms at any one of our Sunday services. To schedule a baptism contact by clicking here, or calling the church office at 937-642-4712.
INTRODUCING YOUNG CHILDREN TO COMMUNION
Our church is an "open church" for communion. This means that we leave it up to the discretion of the person or parents for the first communion. Here are few great and practical ways you can introduce communion to your children:
*Explain that communion is a time when we remember Jesus. To do this we share a meal together like the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples (Last Supper).
*Discuss the following about the Last Supper: At the meal, Jesus took the bread and broke it and said to his disciples, “This is my body broken for you”. This sounded strange because they didn’t know yet that Jesus’ body would be broken on the cross the next day. At the supper he also picked up the cup and said, “This is my blood which is for the forgiveness of sins.” We eat the bread and juice to remember our sins are forgiven because of his bloody death on the cross. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead! Another reason we take communion is to remind us of his victory over death.
*Explain how Communion is a way of telling Jesus that we love him and we want to obediently follow him.
*Explain the procedure for taking Communion at church and discuss the importance for reverence and reflection.
Download our Holy Communion Handout HERE.