What is Baptism?

Baptism is the sacrament of INITIATION INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST, THE CHURCH, which joins the new member with Christians everywhere. It is also the BEGINNING OF A LIFELONG PROCESS of growth in Christ. BAPTISM IS A SACRAMENT ordained by Christ. It can be received only once, but its effects are lasting. Any Christian baptism is recognized by The United Methodist Church. Anyone at ANY age can be baptized. Baptism is a joyful time for the congregation because it is a renewal of our own covenant.

The official United Methodist Church teaching can be found in The Meaning of Baptism document.


  • Incorporates new members into the church to promote their sprirtual growth
  • Identifies the recipient as a baptized Christian
  • Signifies death, rebirth and new life
  • Assures us that our sins are forgiven.

The Sacrament of Baptism represents a gift from God and our response to it. God’s gifts are active grace and saving love, a spritual home in the Church, new life as God’s children, forgiveness for all our sins, the promise of salvation, the gifts of love, joy, peace and kindness.

Our response – We accept God’s love by agreeing to fulfill our Christan responsiblities, obeying Christ’s instructions to spread the good news, living a Christian life of love and service.

Wateris the special symbol of baptism. It signifies: Birth and Life, Death, Cleansing and Growth....

The United Methodist accepts three forms of baptism:

Sprinkling: symbolizes the cleansing activity of the sacrament.

Pouring: symbolizes the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Immersion: symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

United Methodists offer baptism at any age:

Infant Baptism: Baptism of infants emphasizes God’s love freely given not “earned” by our actions, the responsibility of the church to nurture and protect its members. The baptism of an infant anticipates the child making a profession of faith when old enough to make a personal response.

Adult Baptism: Baptism of older children and adults emphasizes personal acceptance of God’s gift of grace and diligent preparation and serious commitment to Christ.

Participants and Their Roles

Role of Parents: Parents have a primary responsibility for passing on faith to their children. Parents help cultivate their children’s spiritual development by modeling the Christian life. In order to prepare for your own baptism or the baptism of your child, parents are expected to actively participate in the life of the church for at least three months. To discuss the spiritual responsibilities of such a commitment, please contact the church office to meet with our pastor.

Role of the Church: At baptism, church members proclaim our responsibility to love and care for new members. The St. Paul’s members renew their own commitments to the Christian life and fulfill the scriptural command to welcome, guide and care for new members. he church grows stronger with each new member whose life and experience is added to the life of the church.

Role of Sponsors/Godparents: These persons help to provide proper instruction and direction of the individual being baptized. Parents or sponsors make commitments to God to guide and establish the child in faith. Under the guidance of sponsors and parents, candidates participate regularly in the life of the church, attend worship services, study the Bible and try to follow Christ’s teachings in daily life. It isn’t a requirement to assign Sponsors or Godparents, but we welcome them.

Next Steps

When you are ready to discuss your own baptism or that of your child, please click here to access the Baptism Information Form and submit online. Once you have submitted the form, please call the church office at (302)378-2420 to schedule a time to meet. If you have additional questions, please call or email the church office.

*From the United Methodist Church understanding of Baptism