Preparing for a Baptism Interview
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account... (Heb. 13:17a)
When it comes to baptism, the pattern we find in the Bible is that new believers are usually baptized almost immediately. That said, simply because an event or a practice is described in the pages of Scripture does not mean it is prescribed for us to do today. The Bible does not explicitly tell us how a church or how a pastor determines who is ready to be baptized. And the Bible does give at least one example of a man, Simon the Magician, who was baptized upon his profession of faith but soon afterward showed that his motives were not right and that his “heart [was] not right before God” (Acts 8:9-24).
The elders of Grace Church are charged to keep watch over the souls in their care, and so one of our concerns when it comes to baptism is to ensure, as much as it is humanly possible, that those being baptized are truly believers. And so in addition to dedicated teaching on baptism, we will sit down for an interview with anyone who is considering baptism.
What is this baptism interview about? Before getting to that question, let us stress one thing at the outset: a baptism interview is NOT a “pass or fail” test. Not at all! We are hoping and praying that you will, indeed, be baptized; we’re “cheering for you”! The baptism interview is not intended as an obstacle to be overcome; rather, it’s a chance for us to help you get there. The baptism interview will result in us telling you one of two things: either we will say, “we think you’re ready—let’s get this done!” or, “we’re not yet sure that you’re ready—so let’s see what can be done to help you get there.”
What do we talk about in the interview? Two main things. First, we want to confirm that you understand what baptism is all about. And so we’ll ask some questions to get an idea what you think baptism is and means. As one example, we would want to avoid anyone getting the idea that baptism is a “ticket to heaven” that guarantees salvation—because it doesn’t! Our suggestion, then, is that you study over the “Understanding Baptism” booklet, the notes you may have taken from your baptism class, and the Bible passages describing baptism, and be ready to tell us a) what baptism is, b) who should be baptized, and c) what baptism says about the person being baptized.
Second, we want to ensure that you have a credible profession of faith. And so we’ll ask you some questions about your spiritual life. Our suggestion, then, is that you study over the “What Is The Gospel?” pamphlet you received with your “Understanding Baptism” booklet, and that you spend some time reflecting on your own conversion to Christ and your life so far as a Christian. Perhaps talk to a trusted family member or friend who knows your Christian story. We suggest that you come to the interview ready to talk about things like: a) When and how did you come to believe in Jesus? b) Have you seen a change or a difference in your life since you believed, and what does that look like? and c) What is the Gospel, and how would you explain it to someone else?
Finally, after talking about what baptism is and your own walk with Jesus, the elders will give you a chance to ask any further questions you may have. And if you are not yet an adult, the elders will also want to talk to your parents about your desire to be baptized and make sure they support your decision. Note that if you are not yet an adult, we try to be especially careful with baptism, and so please don’t take it too hard if, after talking to you and to your parents, we think it’s wise to take a bit more time to make sure you’re ready.
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