What is Baptism?
Baptism is a gift of grace in which God, through water and word, claims us as his own. In the Lutheran church, baptism is one of two ‘sacraments’ through which we are made new, forgiven people, adopted into God’s family, loved for life and beyond. In baptism, God is the actor, it’s God who initiates a relationship with us. In baptism, God chooses us and we joyfully respond to that choosing. In the same way that we do not choose our parents but respond to their love, the same is true in our relationship with God. For Martin Luther, baptism was the primary sacrament. It marks our birth into a life lived in God. It reminds us of God’s claim upon our lives and God’s desire for us to know the joy of his love. From a more theological perspective, baptism also reminds us that a life lived in relationship with God is a daily “dying and rising”; dying to living our way or the way of our current culture, and rising to new life-to live, like Christ, in God’s way. In Baptism God claims us as children, adopts us into the family of God’s people, forgives us our sin for turning away from God, gives us the gift of his presence through the Holy Spirit, and promises us eternal life. A life of faith begins in the water and Word (promise of God’s love for us) of Holy Baptism.
Can my child be baptized at St. John's if I'm not a member?
The short answer to this great question is simply, ‘Yes.’ All who desire to be baptized, or who desire to have their children baptized are welcome at St. John's. Baptism is just the beginning of a life-long journey of relationship with Jesus Christ. Baptism is also a partnership in which parents together with the entire congregation are equipped to joyfully work together to raise a child in faith. Because of this partnership we encourage parents to engage in an on-going relationship with St. John's for their own growth and support.
When should I consider bringing my child for baptism?
Parents sometimes wonder, “Is there a “right age for baptism? They might ask, “What if my child is not an infant?” Other parents sense urgency from extended family members, or feel the rush to “get it done.” There is no “right” age for baptism, nor do parents need to fear that their children are in danger if they are not baptized. God, who ‘knows us by name’ and who ‘knit us together in our mother’s womb’ is always ready to extend the gift of baptism. The "right age" is when your family is ready to grow in a relationship with Christ.
Can I be baptized as an adult?
Yes! Adults who have not been baptized who wish to explore a life of faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ are encouraged to be baptized.
What are sponsors? Who and how many should I choose?
There was a time when “godparents” were those who had legal responsibility to raise their godchild if the parents died before the child was self-sufficient. While this is no longer the case, baptismal sponsors are those who are chosen to help a newly baptized child or adult to grow in faith. Sponsors do not have to be a family members. The sponsor needs to be an active member of a Christian church. They do not need to be Lutheran but if they are from a different denomination, please clear with the pastor first. The number of sponsors is simply a preference on your part, but no more than two or three are necessary. The role of a sponsor is to partner with parents in the responsibility of raising their child in the Christian faith.
When do baptisms take place?
Baptism is a community event that includes the entire congregation…one’s new faith family. Baptism, like adoption, welcomes an individual into the family of faith. While parents would never adopt a child and choose not to tell the rest of the family members, baptism welcomes and celebrates the new life of the baptized in the context of community. Baptisms take place during the regular worship life at St. John's. It allows us all to see God at work, celebrate God’s goodness, remember our own baptisms, and welcome our new brothers and sisters into the family.
How do I schedule a baptism?
We recommend that all families meet with the pastor to talk about this awesome gift of baptism, the actual baptism service, and determine a date that will work within the church schedule. To set up a meeting, contact the Pastor at 715-659-5158 or email.
My child has been baptized, what's next?
The most important thing we could ever do for our child’s journey of faith is to tend to our own. Modeling faithful behavior – talking about our faith, praying together, reading scripture, worshiping – communicates values to our children. As our children grow, reading bible stories together helps to teach values and faithful living. And, of course, you and your children are encouraged to participate in all of the faith-filled growth opportunities offered at St. John's.
Download the baptism information sheet