Baptism is just the beginning of a process, not the end. Before you decide to have your child baptised, you should consider just what it is that you are committing yourself to. 

There is much misunderstanding about baptism. Many use the unbiblical word christening. The word christening carries with it the idea that the ceremony makes a child a Christian. This is not true however, because whether a person (either child or adult) is a Christian or not depends on their relationship with Jesus. Each individual must recognise Jesus as his or her own personal Saviour.

People also think that a christening is the giving of a Christian Name to a child. Again, this is wrong. Your child has had his or her name ever since you registered the birth. In fact, you possibly already had a name for your baby before he or she was even born.

Baptism is the welcoming of a child into the Church of God. This is why it is only a beginning and not an end. Life in a family does not end with the birth of a child. The birth is only the beginning. After a child is born, they grow up knowing and loving their family and become more and more a part of it. The same applies to Gods family - the Church.

During the Baptism Service, you will be asked some questions. You must be clear in your heart that you can honestly answer I do to each of these questions before a Baptism Service can be arranged. These questions, though asked by myself as the Minister, are actually vows between yourselves and God.Breaking vows taken before God is a serious matter. Think carefully before you agree to take these vows to ensure that you know what you are agreeing to. You will be answerable to God for what you do in relation to the baptismal vows.

So, before a date can be arranged for a Baptism Service, you will need to think through what follows to ensure that you can honestly say to God, I do. Below are the vows parents of children are asked at the time of baptism, together with a brief explanation of what they mean.

Do you present this child to be baptised, earnestly desiring that, in His own appointed time, the Holy Spirit will work in this childs life all that is meant and signified by Christian baptism.

By answering I do to this question, you are acknowledging that a saving relationship between a Christian and God is one that is led by the Holy Spirit. This takes up and does away with the unscriptural superstition surrounding baptism.

For example, many believe that an unbaptised baby who dies cannot go to be with God in Heaven. This is a cruel and unbiblical superstition. It is not what I do in baptism that saves anyone.

It is the Holy Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Jesus to a persons life that saves. Therefore, even if a child dies before he or she has been baptised into the Church of God, the Spirit can work in his or her life and bring them into a saving relationship with Jesus.

What this question asks is, in effect, What are you here for, It asks if you recognise the part played by the Holy Spirit in salvation, but it also recognises that you are willing to play your part in training up your child in knowledge of and love for Jesus.

Baptism is a sign that the child has entered into the family of faith (just as circumcision did in the Old Testament). It seals a child as a member of that family and displays that his or her parents are accepting their parental responsibility to expose their child to the love of God through the fellowship that exists within the Church family.

In presenting this child for baptism, do you confess your faith in God as your heavenly Father, and in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, and in the Holy Spirit as your Sanctifier?

As I have already said, the vows you make are made before God. It is therefore necessary, if they are to mean anything at all to you, that you believe in God. If you do not believe in God, how will you be able to train your child to believe in Him.

This question, then, asks you about your own faith. Unfortunately, many people say they believe in God without the faintest idea about what they mean by God. Many people have a picture of God that does not conform with true God of the Christian faith as revealed in His Word  the Bible. This often is the result of parents taking baptismal vows in the past, but not fulfilling those vows.  May this not be the case with you.

Also, many people say they believe in God, yet are not willing to do what He tells us to do and to live their lives in obedience to Him. As you look at your own life, ask yourself, is God happy with the way I am living,  Is there anything in my life that I need to change in order to live it as God wants me to?

By answering I do to this question, you declare your faith in the Christian God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You acknowledge that, though God is one, there are Three Persons in the Godhead. This is referred to as the Trinity.

God the Father is the First Person of the Trinity. It is against Him that we sin, and it is He who saves us through His Son Jesus  the Second Person of the Trinity.

Jesus, the Son, is the Second Person. It was He who came to this world to live the sinless life we cannot live; it was He who died an obedient death on the Cross of Calvary for our sakes; it was He who physically rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven, there to live even now as our Lord and Saviour. Without each person actually accepting Jesus as their Saviour, there is no forgiveness of their sins.

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. After Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven. Then He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to all Christians. It is the Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of all believers, and it is He who gives to those believers their faith in Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit also who works in a Christians life, slowly changing it so that they become more like Jesus.

Answering I do to this question means that you are declaring your faith in a very definite God, not just some god that you have heard about and appeals to your sense of values. If you are uncertain about whether you believe in the Christian God, it would be wise to talk things over with me before you take a vow you do not agree with.

Do you promise, in dependence on Divine Grace, to teach him/her the truths and duties of the Christian faith; and by prayer, precept and example, to bring him/her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and in the ways of the Church of God?

The final question is where you commit yourself to do something about the two previous questions. Having said that you want the Holy Spirit to work in your childs life and that you want you child to be saved by the One, true God of the Christian faith, you now say what you are going to do about it. This is where many people fail to keep their vows and, because they refuse to keep this one, it shows that they probably were not being totally truthful when they said I do to the others.

A Christian parent, at the baptism of their child, promises to teach their child about the Christian faith. This is done both at home and by bringing your child to Church and Sunday School. Many parents come up with many excuses as to why they do not bring their child to Church and Sunday School. Very few of the excuses are genuine  they are merely an excuse, they are not the real reason. The real reason is that they do not take their vows seriously and they can’t be bothered to make the effort to get up and come to church on a Sunday morning.  If you have no intention of being involved yourself and of bringing your child to Church and Sunday School, then there is little point in having your child baptised.

Before you bring your child to be baptised, please be certain in your heart that you fully intend to be truthful to the vows you will be asked to take before God.  If you are uncertain about anything, it is better to delay any further thought about baptism until you have discussed your doubts with me. It is better to delay the baptism than to lie to God!

May God bless you as you think about this important step in your child’s life and journey of faith.