Worship Workshop: Baptism
The sacrament of baptism is a sacred and special moment when we accept God’s invitation to be a part of God’s family for a lifetime of remembrance, repentance, and renewal. It’s a time when people and parents of people make a commitment to be a part of God’s story of love and grace.
In the United Methodist Church, we believe in one baptism. We believe only one is needed because God never walks away from us even when we walk away from God. While I adore the beauty of this grace-filled understanding, the whole “once and done” part of baptism can slide the holy moment into something parents think they need to “get done” and then tend to forget about once the day is over and the baptism certificate is in the baby book.
Yet, just like our other sacrament of Holy Communion, the waters of baptism can become a very present and formational part of our faith journey. This Worship Workshop includes several stations which invite children and families to think about the sacrament of baptism. These stations can be done all at once as an intergenerational event, as children’s messages within a worship service, as lessons for Sunday School, or as family practices you can use at home. The pictures taken here reflect a space with various stations for families to visit together. A lesson was offered on the sacrament of baptism where we read from scripture, explained the sacrament, and answered questions about baptism from children and parents.
Baptism Station Ideas:
Happy Baptism Birthday Memory Book: This little resource explains baptism in a kid-friendly way and helps parents tell the story of their child’s baptism to them as they grow. It also introduces the practice of celebrating the anniversary of one’s baptism as a yearly celebration. Here is a PDF copy of this resource. happy baptism birthday memory book Please include all pages of this resource including my website if you use it Families assemble their own book by walking around a table of cards and a binder ring. TIP: To avoid carpal tunnel from hole punching a million cards, use a drill with a large bit instead of a hole puncher to pre-punch all the cards.
Baptism Birthday Cupcakes!: What is a birthday celebration without cake?? This station encourages families to remember their baptism as a celebration complete with cake. Plus, a yummy snack always helps to invite people to the event.
(These particular cupcakes were made to look like “water” with a touch of blue food dye added to the frosting bag!)
Flavored Water Station: If you give a kid a cupcake, they are going to ask for a drink. Why not capitalize on the water theme with a beautiful and healthy variety of flavored waters. You can have a tally chart for participants to vote for their favorite flavor. Some of the flavors we made were: Strawberry Lime, Watermelon Basil, Orange Rosemary, and Cucumber Mint. For the less adventurous friends, we had plain old “High Quality H20.”
To make the flavored water, just steep the cut fruit and herbs in the water about an hour before the event.
(PS: Don’t judge me for not taking off the stickers on the jars! )
Make A Shell Prayer Bead Chain: Prayer Bead Chains are a wonderful tactile resource to add to the spiritual practice of prayer. Beads can be added for special purposes (Loved ones, cares of the heart, etc.) or just for decoration. Shells are a symbol of baptism and water and create a beautiful charm for the center of this activity. Pre-drill shells and string them with twine. Put out plates of beads in various shades of blue and green. WARNING: People of all ages love beads. Be prepared for the entire table to be filled with adults making a bead chain.
Read the Bible: Mark Bibles with the different references to baptism. Let families read the stories together.
Make Some Water Music: This station is simply a variety of dollar store glasses filled with different levels of water and some metal spoons. There is something about the sound of the music that makes the water feel special.
More Suggestions About Baptism:
- Begin the practice of singing a special song or saying a special prayer to the baptized. This act celebrates the beauty of baptism and gives the congregation a special reminder of their role in the life of the baptized.
- Give baptism families a special gift on the day of their baptism such as a cross, a book, a children’s Bible, or a copy of the Happy Baptism Birthday Memory Book.
- If there are older siblings in the baptism family, include them in the celebration by holding the bowl of water or sprinkling their sibling.
- Include all the children at church by giving them a front row seat (up at the altar rail) to the special celebration. Remind the children that it is their job to teach the newly baptized about God’s love.
- Celebrate a Remember Your Baptism service on Baptism of the Lord Sunday or other times a year and allow congregants to remember their baptisms by making the sign of the cross with water on their hand or forehead or taking a glass stone or shell with them. Tactile practices like these are great ways to welcome children into worship.
- Encourage families to celebrate their baptism birthdays on the anniversary of their baptisms. Baptism birthdays are an opportunity to acknowledge faith milestones, give a Bible, or write a letter about the ways one is growing in faith and love.