BAPTISM

At East Bay, our greatest joy is to celebrate lives being changed. Water baptism is the next step in your journey with the Lord—a declaration of a new life rooted in His grace. The Bible tells us that every believer is to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are thrilled to stand beside you as you experience the hope, love, and overcoming power of Jesus!

Baptisms are a regular part of our gatherings as a church and are a time when the church can rejoice with you in your faith found in Jesus. If you would like to be baptized here at East Bay take some time to go through our Online Baptism Class or contact the office to see when our next scheduled in person baptism class is happening. We would love to walk with you as you take this next step in your faith.

Online Baptism Class

ONLINE BAPTISM CLASS

Session #1: Class Overview

 

Session #2. What is Baptism?

 

Session #3: Why Should One Be Baptized?

 

Session #4: Who Should Be Baptized?

 

Session #5. When Should a Person Be Baptized?

 

Session #6. How Should a Person Be Baptized?

 

Session #7. What Happens Next?

Session 1: Class Overview

We are so glad that you desire to express your faith in Jesus by getting baptized. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward confession and we hope that through this class you can come to a meaningful understanding of the action you are taking as a follower of Jesus.

About This Class:

This baptism class is made up of seven sessions designed to introduce you to what getting baptized is all about. In it we explain the gospel, our theology of baptism, answer some basic questions and get you started in writing out your personal testimony.

The baptism class is completed in two steps;

Step #1. Baptism Class

The first part is the “Baptism Class” and is completed by watching video teaching corresponding to each session and completing required reading. In the final session (#7. What happens next) we ask you to begin the process of writing out your testimony. This is the most important part of the class because it is by your testimony of faith that we as a church affirm your faith in Jesus and hear you testify to his work of salvation in your life. After completing this session by submitting your testimony we will contact you to set up a “Baptism Interview”.

 

Step #2. Baptism Interview

The “Baptism Interview” gives us an opportunity to hear whether you understand the gospel, and are walking in fruitful repentance and belief. This informal time is also used to get to know you and let you ask any questions you may have. The interviewer will take time to go through your “My Testimony Worksheet” with you talk about your salvation story. If you complete the baptism interview satisfactorily it’s time have you prepare to share it with the church. We will have you either record your testimony on video to play for the church or have you share it live at the time of your baptism. It’s up to you! Our prayer is that those who hear your testimony would be able to come to know Jesus and hear the gospel through your story.

Session 2: What is Baptism?

Baptism and communion (the Lord’s Supper) are the two ordinances prescribed by our Lord Jesus Christ as visible symbols of invisible grace. They are discernible and tangible representations of both the invisible realities of the gospel and the Spirit’s application of this gospel to our lives.

 

With both ordinances, believers have an opportunity to “remember” God’s goodness and grace, especially as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Both baptism and communion picture Christ’s death and resurrection and our participation in His death and resurrection through union to Him in faith. As we enter into the waters or watch another do so, we are reminded that Christ was crucified and raised from the dead and that we too have died to the old self in order to live for Christ.

 

What a person believes about baptism affects how they will perform the ordinance. Who should be baptized? When should they be baptized? How should they be baptized? All of these questions are answered as we reflect upon what baptism means.

 

“Baptism is a visual and symbolic demonstration of a person’s union with Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. It signifies that a person’s former way of life has been put to death and depicts a release from the mastery of sin.”

 

As a symbol, baptism illustrates a number of significant realities:

  1. Christ’s death and resurrection

  2. The disciple’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection

  3. The new life in which a disciple walks

  4. Cleansing and washing away of sin

 

IS BAPTISM MERELY A SYMBOL?

Within the Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, the nature of the sacraments was fiercely debated, even between the various Reformers. Without attempting to justify any particular position, it is important to assert that baptism is in some mysterious sense a “means of grace,” in which God sanctifies and encourages His people. That said, it is important to bear in mind a few helpful truths regarding what baptism is not and does not do:

 

1. BAPTISM DOES NOT SAVE. Though grace is mysteriously mediated through the ordinance, it is not saving grace but rather sanctifying grace. We are more conformed to the image of Christ as we obey Him in the call to be baptized.3

 

2. BAPTISM IS NOT “NECESSARY” FOR SALVATION. Without in any way diminishing the duty and delight of baptism for a believer, we must also warn against thinking which suggests that salvation is dependent upon baptism. The gospel is one of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Session 3: Why Should One Be Baptized?

MATTHEW 28:18–20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

ACTS 2:37–41 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 

ACTS 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. 

Here is a list of reasons why one should be baptized.

1. To obey the commands of Christ 
2. To evidence that a person is a disciple of Christ 
3. To follow the example of Christ

Baptism is not merely a responsibility but also a privilege. We have the opportunity to evidence our trust in and love for our King through obedience in this ordinance. If we think of baptism as a mere burden, we have not properly understood the joy of following Christ in the call to be baptized. We should have a similar response as the Ethiopian eunuch who, when he believed the gospel, proclaimed, “What prevents me from being baptized?” It should be our joy, and we should eagerly anticipate our participation in the ordinance. While there are certain costs associated with baptism, the reward of obedience is always worth it. 

The desire to be baptized should be motivated by a desire to glorify God in faithful obedience. Any other motivation (to join a particular local church, to please a friend or family member, etc.) should not be the ultimate reason for seeking to be baptized.
 

Session 4: Who Should Be Baptized?

MATTHEW 28:18–20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

 

“Water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and become His disciple.”

 

We practice what is called “believer’s” or “confessor’s” baptism, which means we only baptize those who believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Reading through Acts, we find baptism explicitly related to repentance, receiving the Word, believing and receiving the Holy Spirit. There is no explicit evidence to suggest that nonbelievers were baptized.

 

ACTS 2:41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

 

ACTS 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

 

GALATIANS 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

 

ROMANS 6:3–4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

SHOULD A PERSON BE REBAPTIZED?

For those who were baptized by immersion at an earlier age, it is important to understand that we should only be baptized once. If you trusted in Christ at that time, your baptism is valid and need not, indeed should not, be repeated. If, however, you experienced sprinkling with or baptism by immersion before being born again and trusting Christ, your experience was not baptism, and thus you need to be baptized. The question is therefore, “Was I truly trusting in Christ when I was baptized?”

 

There should always be seasons of growth and greater periods of maturity in the life of those who have trusted in the gospel. Believers must not be rebaptized each time they experience greater joy and sanctification. However, if you believe that your original experience was prior to truly trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior, you should pursue obedience in this area by being baptized now.

Session 5: When Should A Person Be Baptized?

ACTS 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

 

As soon as a person trusts Christ, he or she should be baptized. The Scriptures do not speak of a delayed baptism in which a regenerate believer refrains from obedience to the ordinance. In all the accounts in the Scriptures, baptism is rather immediate. This pattern of somewhat immediate baptism should be emulated unless there are convincing reasons to delay baptism.

 

IMPROPER MOTIVATIONS FOR DELAYED BAPTISM:

1. FEAR

One of the most common reasons for delaying is fear, but such anxiety should not hinder our obedience. It is important to know that fear is sin and thus should not to be passively accepted. Confronting sin is an essential aspect of discipleship, and a person’s obedience in this area is an excellent way to begin the process of sanctification in the area of the fear of man.

 

 

2. NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH

There will never be a time where a person will be “good enough” for baptism. Our right to enter the baptismal waters is grounded upon Christ’s righteousness, not our own. If we have been united to Him, we should confidently draw near in obedience to His command and example.

 

 

THE PRACTICE OF OUR CHURCH

At our church, we ask believers who wish to be baptized to temporarily delay for a brief season while they go through a baptism class. First, this practice allows us to discuss the gospel and the meaning of baptism and to teach our theological convictions regarding both. Second, it allows the church the opportunity to celebrate together as a congregation sharing in the joy of a person’s obedience and agreeing to walk with him or her in fellowship. Finally, it allows the person being baptized to invite family and friends who will have an opportunity to celebrate and hear the proclamation of the gospel.

Session 6: How Should A Person Be Baptized?

Though other denominations and theological traditions baptize by pouring or sprinkling, our church practices baptism by immersion. We do so in light of the following considerations:

1. The Greek word βαπτίζω (baptizo) literally means to plunge, submerge or immerse.

 

Our English word baptism is a transliteration of the Greek baptizo. Baptizo was used in Greek literature to describe the act of immersing something in water or another liquid. It later became a technical term that referred specifically to the Christian ordinance of baptism.

 

2. The representation of union in Christ’s death and resurrection is best expressed through immersion.

 

Whether buried below or above ground, the symbolism of burial is still that of being placed under something.

 

Likewise, resurrection is accomplished by coming out of something (whether grave or tomb). Immersion best symbolizes this reality by actually placing the believer under the water and bringing them out.

 

In addition, it is interesting to note the use of water to symbolize judgment in the Scriptures (e.g. the flood of Genesis 6-7 and the destruction of Egypt in the Red Sea of Exodus 14). Thus, by passing through the waters of baptism, the believer expresses trust that God’s judgment has been satisfied by Christ.

 

COLOSSIANS 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

 

ROMANS 6:3–4 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

3. The surrounding context of baptisms in the Scriptures suggests baptism by immersion.

 

MATTHEW 3:16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him…

 

MARK 1:5,10 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins…And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.

 

JOHN 3:23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized…

 

ACTS 8:38–39 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.

 

 

WHERE SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?

Although there are no prescriptions in the Scriptures to location, we prefer to practice the ordinance of baptism within the context of the gathering of the local church in order to allow the congregation to affirm and celebrate together in a person’s act of obedience and submission.

 

 

BAPTISM AND MEMBERSHIP

At our church we believe that baptism and church membership go hand in hand. Baptism is a way that the covenant members of the church affirm your faith in Christ and recognize you as a part of the body. Because of this we will only baptize those who in the same step desire to enter into membership with our local church. In that way we make sure that we are caring for and watching over those who we affirm as part of the body of Christ.

 

When it comes to church membership we also encourage anyone wishing to join the church to have displayed obedience to Christ’s command to be baptized following their conversion. Once baptism is complete the Next Step is to complete the membership process to formally join the church as a covenant member.

 

 

HOW WE BAPTIZE AT OUR CHURCH

1. Typically baptisms take place as a part of our Sunday morning worship services. This allows the church and our family and friends to be able to witness and rejoice in the work God has done in your life together. We encourage those wishing to be baptized to do so within the context of these gatherings.

 

2. Prior to baptism, participants are asked to complete the “Baptism Class”, a “Baptism Interview” and then record their personal testimony on video to show before the baptism. For guidelines in writing your testimony see Session #7. “What Happens Next” and the section “Sharing Your Personal Testimony”

 

3. After the testimony is shown to the congregation, the person performing the baptism will ask, “Do you confess and believe Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?” to which the baptizee will respond, “Yes” or “I do.”

 

4. The baptizer will then immerse and subsequently raise the baptizee out of the water while saying, “I baptize you, my (brother or sister) in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” [Some will choose to also say, “Buried with Christ in the likeness of His death. Raised to walk in newness of life!” This is taken from Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.]

 

HELPFUL HINTS:

1. Wear dark shorts and a dark shirt or a shirt provided by the church.

2. Come to church dressed in what you will wear to be baptized

3. Bring a change of clothes, towel and bag to hold your wet clothes after you change.

4. Don’t try and change right before the baptism service begins.

Session 7: What Happens Next?

You’re almost done! In the final session, we walk you through the final processes of writing out your personal testimony so you can share it at your baptism interview. Here are the last few steps to take for baptism.

 

#1. Write Our Your Testimony

This is the most important part of the class because it is by your testimony of faith that we as a church affirm that you are a follower of Jesus. Your testimony will be used for your baptism interview and to record a video or share it live with the congregation to hear and see. When submitted, we will contact you to set up a baptism interview.

 

#2. Attend Your Baptism Interview

The baptism interview gives us an opportunity to hear your personal testimony of faith and weather of not you understand the gospel, and are walking in fruitful repentance and belief. This informal time is also used to get to know you and let you to ask any questions you may have about the church and baptism here. If you would like to share your testimony on video we will record it at this time also.

 

#3. Get Baptized.

After your baptism interview we will schedule your baptism. If there are others who are going through the baptism class, we will choose a Sunday that works for everyone. In that service, you will share your testimony with the congregation and upon that profession of faith, baptize you in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

 

How to Develop Your Personal Testimony

  • Make it personal, not preachy; use “I” and “me” not “you” and “we.”

 

  • Follow the "My Testimony" outline.

  • Before – How your life looked before you became a Christian; include how you became aware of your need for Christ. 

  • When & How – How you specifically became a Christian; communicate the gospel clearly and briefly; include the following:

    • The fact of sin.

      • "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

    • The penalty of sin.

      • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

    • Jesus’ payment for sin.

      • But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

    • The requirement to repent and trust Jesus personally.

      • If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

    • The steps you took to invite Christ into your life (could have been a prayer of commitment)

  • After – How Jesus changed your life; relate back to the areas you struggled with before conversion.

    • Part of this can include a thank you to anyone who helped you begin a relationship with Christ.

 

  • Clearly write out your personal testimony using the “My Testimony” outline provided above. Try to keep it between 3 to 4 minutes.

SHARING OR RECORDING YOUR TESTIMONY

Come Prepared! 
It is very important that you follow the outline and bring your completed testimony with you to your baptism or your videotaping. Experience suggests you will have difficulty doing this “on the fly” in front of the camera or in front of people. It is our desire that your testimony be presented clearly. 


Dress for Videotaping 

If you would like to video tape your testimony your videotaping should take about 5-7 minutes (that’s all!). You will be shot “waist up” (from your waist to the top of your head). You may want to bring a hairbrush or mirror with you for last minute “touch up.” Wear a dark, solid-color shirt. It helps with microphone attachment if the shirt has buttons. Do not wear a shirt with a slogan on it, a tank-top or a tube-top. Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum. Hats, bandannas and sunglasses are not allowed, as they hide your facial expression.
 

SUBMITTING YOUR TESTIMONY

We are so glad that you have taken the time to go through our Online Baptism Class. Once you have finished writing out your testimony you can submit it using the link below which will indicate to us your completion of this class. If you have any questions we would be more than happy to assist you. Once we receive your completed testimony we will contact you to set up your Baptism Interview. 

WORSHIP SERVICE:

Sundays: 9AM & 10:30AM

(231) 946-4479

office @eastbaycalvary.org

2225 Hammond Rd E

Traverse City, MI 49686

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