This is how I cope as a Baptist minister while being part of a church that does infant baptisms…

It is the only thing Jon and I have nearly ‘fallen out’ over the years of being friends. I remember it clearly, even though it was nearly 16 years ago. 

We were in Pizza Hut and Jon had been showing me his amazing skills of eating an entire slice of Pizza in seven chews. It was a phenomenal gift of making pizza slices disappear in a twinkling of an eye! (Edit: He has now informed me after reading this blog that it was only 3 chews. And I quote: “…it was three bites! Chomp chomp swallow!”)

I was winning the competition on consumption of Pizza slices from the buffet, 14 to 11. But then I couldn’t eat anymore. Not because I was particularly stuffed but because we then spoke about infant baptism. I got so cross with Jon. 

I passionately explained why believers baptism was THE biblical mandate to make disciples, teach people what Jesus has taught us and baptise them. 

Jon spoke about convenant and God’s promises for the whole family and how infant baptism is also for entire households where families become Christians, like in the bible where the jailor and his family were baptised. I remember the conversation got round to what ‘saved’ meant for people and I asked him about it ready to pounce on his answer and weild my big evangelical sword to destroy his argument. But that didn’t happen. We are both evangelicals you see, while one an anglican the other a baptist we are both now ordained and gifted to pioneer and be evangelists. Both love Jesus and both want others to love him too. 

It’s my upbringing as a ‘vicars kid’  and my friendship with Jon that helps me be part of a L.E.P. (Local ecumenical partnership.) I’m so pleased that Jon and I didn’t fall out as a few years after our heated conversation Jon became the first evangelist to work with me at The Light Project and has done some amazing things in his ministry now as an ordained Anglican pioneer vicar.  

I am part of the vibrant Cambourne Church, it’s Baptist, URC, Methodist and Anglican and the building is also used by the Catholic Church. We are a right mix of Christians. 

We serve as the main church that families in the community (wow, there’s lots of families!) look to for when they want to get their children Baptised. We have lots in the life of the church and it’s inevitable that as I serve as an evangelist and help lead more within the church that I will be involved in a service that includes baptism of children.

This morning was the first. While ministers of other denominations may look upon baptism as a sacrament I simply look upon them as the most amazing good news sharing opportunity. 

That’s how I cope with the whole service.
It’s a morning to serve and love the family and friends and try to show something of what God is like. As a baptist ordained as an evangelist the opportunity to show God’s love is far greater than any theological differences I cherish.

  
As part of this, during leading the service I presented two ‘prayer pictures’ that I had painted for the children with the hope of bringing something of God’s heart to the family’s hearts. These watercolours I presented in simple frames and added the children’s names as well as some scripture and encouragements. I also signed them, as I joked with the parents they may want to sell them on eBay! 

I spent time printing and praying for the two boys the night before the service. 

Throughout the time of gathered worship I tried to teach some of the basics of what God is like, hoping to convey the goodness of God and encourage the church to bless the family.

On my heart is the desire to welcome all people into the church (even when the traditions are very different to what I believe) and to create ways to be accessible to those who haven’t been to church before as well as create space for an immersive experience. 

Of course, if there are opportunities to do some adult baptisms and dunk believers then I would be very happy to do that! 

The alternative of ‘thanksgivings’ and ‘dedications’ may also be something that I could bring to our amazing church family. 

2 thoughts on “This is how I cope as a Baptist minister while being part of a church that does infant baptisms…

  1. Love this Chris, I so endorse what you say. When it comes to children growing in faith we need to know God is working in their lives right from day one, (and before!) and we need to encourage that growth all the way along the journey. Blessings to you as you keep blessing others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s