Within the Methodist Church, membership comes at the point where the person wishes to take on the commitment and responsibility of Christian discipleship for themselves and to play a full part in the life of the Church. If you are considering being baptised as an adult, acceptance into membership will usually occur at the same time.
If you have previously been baptised as an infant, and now want to become a church member, then reception into membership would follow a CONFIRMATION service.
If you are transferring to Yatton Methodist Church from another church (Methodist or other), we are deighted to welcome you into the life of the church here. Please speak to myself regarding the most appropriate way we might recognise this.
For those who have not been previously baptised or christened, being baptised as an adult is a wonderful experience, and at the heart of an amazing journey of faith for those that choose to be followers of Jesus Christ. You are never too old to take this step.
You may have been baptized at a christening when you were a child or in a different Christian tradition, and for those that wish to do so, there are special ways to renew the promises that were made then, in a fresh way as you discover more about what it means to live them out in your life as a follower of Jesus.
Thinking about baptism for your child?
If you are interested in having your child baptised or dedicated at Yatton Methodist Church, it’s important to consider the significance of Baptism, especially the Baptism of infants. The following information will help to answer some of the questions parents often ask when considering having their children baptised. We want you, as parents, to be able to make an informed choice as to what is right for your children.
What is Christian Baptism?
Baptism is all about making a fresh start, a new beginning with God. When a person is baptised they are welcomed into the church. At the heart of all this is the celebration of the new life which God gives us when we come to trust in Jesus Christ and are "born again" (John 3:3-8). At Baptism a person is immersed in or sprinkled with water as a sign that he or she is washed clean of all his or her human failings, making a fresh start with God.
Baptism in the Bible
The Bible tells us that people came to John the Baptist to be baptised in the River Jordan when they wanted to make a radical change in the way they lived their lives (Mark 1:4-5). Subsequently, Jesus instructed his followers to baptise all who came to believe in his message and profess faith in him (Matthew 28:19). Paul later described how the act of being immersed in water is a sign of being buried at death and then being raised to everlasting life, as Jesus was at his resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Baptism celebrates this hope of eternal life.
Two opinions regarding Christian Baptism
Broadly speaking, there are two different opinions regarding Baptism. If as parent you are considering baptism for your child you will need to decide which to take.
- Some Christians maintain that the Bible teaches that a person should be baptised only when he/she makes a personal decision to become a Christian. Therefore, many parents prefer not to have their children Baptised as infants. This means that their child can be baptised as a Christian believer when he/she is old enough to make such a decision for him/herself. Parents who feel that it is not appropriate to have their children baptised but nevertheless want to celebrate the gift of their child may therefore choose to have a similar but slightly different type of service: either a DEDICATION or a THANKSGIVING service (see below).
- Other Christians choose to have their children baptised as infants. They do this in anticipation that in time these children will make a personal decision to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. On this understanding, Baptism is primarily seen as an expression of God’s grace: in other words, God’s love is not dependent on our response to Him; God accepts us long before we are old enough to understand our need of Him. Infant Baptism is a practice which goes back to the early church. There is no explicit reference to the baptism of infants in the Bible, although it is implied in places where we read that "households" were baptised (eg 1 Corinthians 1:16; Acts 16:15 & 33). When an infant is baptised the parents make promises before God and before the Church that they will make every effort to encourage their child to make a personal commitment to Jesus Christ and follow him. In making such promises the parents undertake to provide a Christian home for their child, encouraging him/her to pray and read the Bible, and when they are old enough, to attend Sunday School / Junior Church regularly. It is understood that in choosing to have their children baptised, parents and children will worship together at their local church as often as possible, as part of the Church family.
A summary of the three types of service for infants:
1.) INFANT BAPTISM is for parents who believe in the Christian faith and wish to welcome their child into the Church now in anticipation of a personal commitment to Jesus Christ which the parents will encourage their child to make. In this service the parents promise before God and the Church that they will encourage their child to follow Jesus Christ. These are serious promises, and should not be taken lightly or as a matter of course. It’s important that you feel happy with the promises that you would be asked to make and you should not feel that you are having to compromise your integrity in any way.
2.) A DEDICATION service is for Christian parents who wish to celebrate and give thanks to God for their child, but feel that Baptism should be something undertaken only by their child him/ herself, when he/she is old enough to make a personal decision to follow Jesus Christ. The parents make the same sort of promises as above, but the child is given a blessing rather than Baptism with water.
3.) A THANKSGIVING service is an opportunity to say thank you to God for the child without the requirement of a profession of faith. The child is blessed rather than baptised. This differs from a DEDICATION service in that the parents are not required to stand and make promises. Such a service is for those parents who may not attend Church regularly, or have not made a firm commitment to the Christian faith, but who nevertheless would like a Church service to celebrate the gift of their child to them.
Making the right decision
Please take some time to mull over the options outlined in this leaflet. If you would like to talk through any concerns I would be more than happy to do so. If, after considering these things you feel that you would like to have your child/ren baptised, then I would be very happy to make the necessary arrangements with you.
You may feel that a service of Dedication or Thanksgiving is more appropriate than infant Baptism, and again I would be very happy to discuss this with you. Just complete the form at the bottom of this page and I will come back to you.