A Statement and a Symbol
At North, we observe two sacraments: communion and baptism. We share in communion together most every week during our Sunday gatherings. Communion exists for all believers and is to be enjoyed regularly. During communion, we worship Jesus as both with us and for us. He is present and provider. Jesus has provided for our full forgiveness of sin through his perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. The bread and wine symbolize his body and blood. And through communion, we experience his spiritual presence among us in a special way.
Baptism is a one time experience for new believers. It is both a statement and a symbol to be done as soon as possible after initial repentance and faith. Baptism is done publicly as a bold statement. The new christian is identifying with the Lord Jesus. Baptism is also a symbol. The new christian is identifying with the life of Jesus. Just as Jesus was dead, buried and is now risen, the new believer is submerged under the water indicating the death and burial of his or her old life then raised out of the water expressing the new and risen life of Jesus. Lastly, as we see in many biblical accounts (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 8:38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15; 16:33; and, 19:5), new believers were baptized as soon as reasonably was possible.
With this last perspective of baptism from the bible in mind, we want to change one aspect of how we observe this sacrament at North. Traditionally, we have held baptisms during our Sunday gatherings both quarterly and on Easter Sunday. This meant that some new believers at North had to wait for several months to be baptized after professing their new faith in Jesus. In order to baptize new christians as soon as is reasonably possible, we will now celebrate baptisms on a more regular basis. We will be inviting brand new believers each Sunday to express their desire to be baptized. We will counsel them and collect the information we need in order to tell the story of their faith journey so that we can baptize them on the following Sunday. Ideally, this means that new christians will be baptized within a week or two of their conversion.
What about spontaneous baptisms? We will continue to observe spontaneous baptisms by inviting people to be immersed on Sundays we have scheduled baptisms and most especially on Easter Sunday.
If you are a christian who has never been baptized, please let us know and we will schedule it for you as soon as is reasonable. Let’s pray for and share the gospel of Jesus with our family members and friends who don’t yet know him. And let’s trust that soon baptism, much like communion, will become an every Sunday experience.