Thanksgiving or Baptism?
If you are thinking about having a Thanksgiving or Baptism for you or your child at CCM, please consider the following:
There has been a lot of confusion over the years surrounding these two terms thanksgiving and baptism. Its important that these terms be clarified for you so that you can be sure in your minds as to what sort of service you want for you or your child.
A thanksgiving, as the word suggests, is a special service whereby we celebrate the child's life and dedicate him/her to Christ. The focus is chiefly on prayers for the child and the parents.
I hope that this service of Thanksgiving can be open to all people who wish to make some statement of faith in the Christian God but who, for personal reasons, may wish to remain un-committed to membership in our local church. In other words, I want to offer everyone an opportunity to be embraced by the love of God in Christ, to be encouraged in a greater understanding of that love, yet without the pressure to join our church community.
Requirements: Parents should be believers themselves or at least positively inclined towards the Christian faith. They should be prepared to make promises concerning the child's Christian upbringing. Godparents are an important part of the ceremony and should have, at the very least, some elemental faith in God.
Ceremony: The main aspects of the ceremony include: firstly, the reading and explanation of a short but meaningful passage of the Scriptures; then, a simple ceremony of blessing on the child followed by a time of prayer for child, parents and godparents.
As the word 'baptism' implies, this ceremony involves the use of water. Most importantly, it is a sacrament of the church. That is, it was commanded by Jesus to be administered only to those who truly desire to become His disciples. A disciple is a person who wants to fully integrate into the life and fellowship of the local church, taking on all the responsibilities and benefits of membership. (Jesus said to His disciples, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.) A child is included in baptism on the basis of the parents commitment to church membership.
It is, therefore, administered only to committed Christian believers and their children as a public testimony to their commitment to Christ and membership in His church. In fact, water is used to symbolise a persons willingness to die to themselves and live as a member of Christ's resurrected community (the church), in an earnest desire to be transformed by His Spirit. (see Romans 6:3-14)
Requirements: There are two forms of baptism, one for adults and another for children. The requirements differ according to the form.
Adult baptism: The baptism of an adult is the sign of that persons repentance and conversion to Christ, and willingness to engage in the on-going process of becoming His disciple. It is only valid if the adult displays a sincere commitment to, and regular membership of, the local church community.
Infant baptism: The baptism of a child is only done when it is obvious that the parents are committed Christian believers and are regular members of the local church. Baptism is not available for those that are not committed members of CCM. As part of preparation for baptism we require that classes be completed before a baptism date is settled upon.
Ceremony: We always build the baptism service around the structures given to us in An Australian Prayer Book. This gives the parents or adult baptism candidate an opportunity to make public confessions of their faith in Christ as well as an opportunity for the local church congregation to make public responses.
I hope these explanations make it easier for you to decide for yourself what it is you really desire for your child and for yourself. Please feel free to contact CCM (by phone, or online) if you need any more information, or would like to talk to us about arranging a thanksgiving or baptism - for yourself or your child.