On Sunday, we announced that we’ll be holding baptisms at the beach next month. Perhaps you’re wondering whether you should be baptised, or what we believe about baptism in the Vineyard. Either way, I hope this brief overview helps you understand why this is such an important moment in our community’s annual rhythm!
Here at Northridge, we tend to run away from anything that looks like religion. But along with pretty much every other denomination and movement, we believe the bible clearly teaches that all followers of Jesus should be baptised. So what exactly does that mean?
What is baptism?
A symbolic act
One of the key themes we see around baptism in the New Testament is that it’s an outward representation of an inward transformation. This works on a number of levels. It symbolises our dying with Christ, and rising again into his new life (Romans 6:3-5, Colossians 2:12). It reminds us that our sin has been washed away (1 Peter 3:21). It even calls to mind the great story we’re now a part of—for example, baptism mirrors the Israelites journey down into the Red Sea as a slave nation, and out the other side as the free people of God.
A public declaration
You don’t get baptised to become a Christian. That happens when you invite Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and commit to following him. Instead, you get baptised because you’re a Christian. It’s an outward response to the transformation that happens internally.
When you get baptised, you’re saying to your friends, your family, your church community, and to yourself that you have decided to follow Jesus.
A step of obedience
If you’re not convinced yet, it might help you to know that Jesus commands his followers to baptise and be baptised. In the Great Commission, Jesus says:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.“Matthew 28:19
Jesus himself was baptised, so why shouldn’t we?
A family celebration
Last, but not least, baptism is not just about you—it’s an event for your community as well! When you’re baptised, you’re joining with the people of God. Your church family, yes, but also a global family, and one that goes all the way back to the first Christians.
What’s more, 1 Corinthians 12:13 says that baptism is a symbol of our unity as God’s people (‘whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free’). In a world that loves to compare and rank people, baptism is a powerful reminder that we all belong to God’s family.
Should I be baptised?
The short answer is, if you’re a follower of Jesus, yes!
If you read through the book of Acts, you’ll see that people who encountered Jesus usually got baptised right away (see Acts 8:36-39 and Acts 16:31-33 for a couple of good examples).
We’re not usually that quick in the Evening Community—we have baptisms down at the beach once a year around March/April. If you’re already a Christian, and you haven’t been baptised yet, there’s no reason not to get baptised with us in April.
With that said, we realise for some people it’s a little more complicated…
What if I was baptised when I was a baby?
My understanding (I’m likely going to horribly misrepresent someone here) is that some denominations believe baptism is required for salvation—if that’s your belief, it’s understandable that you’d want to baptise babies.
In the Vineyard, as I’ve already said, we believe baptism is a response to your salvation, rather than a requirement of it. For us, baptism follows a conscious, wilful decision to follow Jesus. If you were baptised as a baby, we’d encourage you to get baptised again as an adult, if you have made a decision to become a Christian.
Importantly, if this is you, it might be worth having a conversation with your parents/family about your decision!
What if I was baptised in another church?
I realise that some denominations have different views on baptism. However, if you’ve been baptised as an adult, there’s no need to be baptised again when you join a different denomination or church.
What if I was baptised as an adult, but walked away from my faith for a season? Should I be baptised again to represent my re-commitment?
The answer to this one is ‘it depends’. It’s worth considering—I’d encourage you to speak to myself or Jen if you’re thinking along these lines.
Keen to get baptised? Get in touch with myself or Jen, we’d love to talk with you about it!