Holy Baptism
Frequently Asked Questions
FLC (First Lutheran Church) Lafayette, LA

What is Baptism?
    Baptism is a gift of grace in which God, through water and word, claims us as God’s own. In the Lutheran church, baptism is one of two sacraments (Baptism and The Lord’s Supper) through which we are made new, forgiven people, adopted into God's family, loved for life and beyond. In baptism, God is the actor, it’s God who initiates a relationship with us. In baptism, God chooses us and we joyfully respond to that choosing. In the same way that we do not choose our parents but respond to their love, the same is true in our relationship with God. For Martin Luther, baptism was the primary sacrament. It marks our birth into a life lived in God. It reminds us of God's claim upon our lives and God's desire for us to know the joy of his love. From a more theological perspective, baptism also reminds us that a life lived in relationship with God is a daily “dying and rising”; dying to living our way or the way of our current culture, and rising to new life-to live, like Christ, in God’s way. In baptism God claims us as children, adopts us into the family of God’s people, forgives us our sin, gives us the gift of God’s presence through the Holy Spirit, and promises us eternal life. This new life – a life of faith begins in the new birth of baptism.

Can my child be baptized at FLC even if I am not a member?
    The short answer to this great question is simply, “Absolutely!” All who desire to be baptized, or who desire to have their children baptized are welcome at FLC. Baptism is just the beginning of a life-long journey of relationship with Jesus Christ. Baptism is also a partnership in which parents, sponsors together with the entire congregation are equipped to joyfully work together to raise a child in faith. Because of this partnership we encourage parents to engage in an on-going relationship with FLC or another faith community for their own faith development (growth and support within the community of faith).

When should I consider bringing my child for baptism?
    Parents sometimes wonder, Is there a “right age” for baptism? They might ask, “What if my child is not an infant?” Other parents sense urgency from extended family members, or feel the rush to “get it done.” There is no “right” age for baptism, nor do parents need to fear that their children are in danger if they are not baptized. God, who “knows us by name” and who “knit us together in our mother’s womb” is always ready to extend the gift of baptism.

Can I be baptized as an adult, and should I choose a sponsor?
    Yes! Adults who have not been baptized who wish to explore a life of faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ are encouraged to be baptized. Baptisms, while generally taking place in the Sanctuary at the baptismal font, are not limited to the church building. Adult baptism can take place outside, at a lake, in a river, or pool where full immersion can be experienced. Details about this can take place in conversation with the pastor. While baptismal sponsors are not necessary we encourage people of all ages to walk the journey of faith with others who can support us and grow alongside us in a life of faith.

What are sponsors, who and how many should I choose?
    There was a time when “godparents” were those who had legal responsibility to raise their godchild if their parents died before the child was self-sufficient. While this is no longer the case, baptismal sponsors are those who are chosen to help a newly baptized child or adult to grow in faith. The number of sponsors is simply a preference on your part, but no more than two or three are necessary. Far more than an honorary position, baptismal sponsors can richly bless a new Christian’s growth through prayer, love, and a faithful example. Sponsors should be chosen with that in mind.

Can we request a “private” baptism?
    Baptism is a community event that includes the entire congregation... one’s new faith family. Baptism, like adoption, welcomes an individual into the family of faith. While parents would never adopt a child and choose not to tell the rest of the family members, baptism welcomes and celebrates the new life of the baptized in the context of community. While baptisms can be arranged apart from the worshiping community, to celebrate baptism during the regular worship life at FLC is our normative practice and allows us all to see God at work, celebrate God’s goodness, and welcome our new brothers and sisters into the faith family.

My child has been baptized. What are our next steps in this journey of faith?
    The most important thing we could ever do for our child’s journey of faith is to tend to our own. Modeling faithful behavior - talking about our faith, praying together, reading scripture, worshiping - communicates Christ-like values to our children. As our children grow, reading bible stories together helps to teach values and faithful living. And, of course, your children are welcome to all of the wonderful, faith-filled growth opportunities offered at FLC! 

We look forward to this faith journey of new life together…