If you have chosen to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ & have never been baptized with water after your choice to follow Jesus, we want to encourage you to be baptized at one of our upcoming baptism services. Baptisms are held several times throughout the year & take place during our worship services.
At Otterbein, we believe that water baptism is a very important part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible, people are instructed to be baptized with water. In Acts 2:38, the apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Some of Jesus’ final recorded words to His followers were to “Go & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). We also know that Jesus modeled for us the importance of water baptism by being baptized Himself in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9–11).
The Bible clearly teaches that water baptism is important in the life of a follower of Jesus because it is God’s way for a person to go public with their decision to follow Jesus. It is a statement to family, friends & the church that a person has chosen to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ & desires to live his/her life in a way that pleases God. It is important to understand that baptism does not make us followers of Jesus. Becoming a follower of Jesus is only possible as we confess our sins to God; express our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, died on the cross & rose again from the dead three days later; commit to follow His teachings & live them out in our daily lives; & as we pray & express to Jesus our heartfelt desire to become one of His followers.
When should I be baptized?
We believe the Bible teaches that you should be baptized as soon as possible following your decision to follow Jesus. Because the Bible clearly states that a person should be baptized, baptism should be seen as one of the earliest expressions of obedience to the Lord. At Otterbein, baptism services are done throughout the year as people express their desire to be baptized.
Who should attend my baptism?
Because baptism is an outward expression of your faith and commitment to Jesus Christ, it is our belief that baptism should be done in a public setting with family, friends, and other persons from the church present. Exceptions are sometimes made for extenuating circumstances, but we encourage you to be baptized during the public baptism service and to invite your family and friends to observe the service.
What happens when I am baptized?
Prior to your baptism, a video testimony will be played (see next question for more information about the video). During the playing of the video testimony, you will join one of the pastors in the water. Following the video, the pastor will share a word of personal encouragement with you and then you will be baptized by immersion one time. At Otterbein, we generally take a person backwards into the water when baptizing them.
What should be included in my video testimony?
Our staff realizes that for some people the thought of being recorded for a video testimony is overwhelming and causes a lot of anxiety. We want to assure you that we will help prepare you for your video testimony and do everything we can to make you comfortable when recording the video. More information about how to prepare for the video recording will be provided during the Baptism Orientation Class. The testimony will last approximately 1–3 minutes and will include information about when and how you chose to begin your relationship with Jesus, what changes you have experienced as a result of choosing to follow Jesus, and who has been instrumental and helpful to you in your decision to follow Jesus and grow in your relationship with Him.
How old do I need to be to be baptized?
There is no specific answer to this question and the Bible does not place any age requirement on baptism. It is important that children clearly understand the significance of water baptism & that they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ. Because of our concern that children clearly understand what it means to be baptized, all children 12 years of age & under are required to complete a special baptism workbook & attend the Baptism Orientation Class. Parents are also required to attend the class with the child prior to being baptized. Anyone 12 years of age & under who wishes to be baptized needs to call or email Dwight Karkan (717.762.7147 x232) to discuss how to receive the baptism workbook & to learn more about Baptism Orientation Class including class times, dates & locations. Note: Pastor Dwight is helping with children's baptism while Amanda Myers, Dir. of Children's Ministry, is on maternity leave.
Is it okay to be baptized more than once?
In general, you should be baptized only once. The exception to this may be if you were baptized prior to choosing to begin a relationship with Jesus. For example, many people were baptized as infants prior to a conscious decision to begin a relationship with Jesus. It is our belief that a person baptized as an infant should be baptized again after choosing to begin a relationship with Jesus. It may also be appropriate for a person to be baptized again if they were baptized as an adult, but before choosing to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. People who have been previously baptized should discuss their desire with one of the pastors before being baptized a second time.
What if I am afraid of water or have a physical handicap?
If you have a fear of water, contact one of the pastors to discuss your concerns. Other arrangements can be made to assist in addressing this concern.
What do I wear?
Prior to your baptism, someone from the church staff will talk with you about appropriate clothing for your baptism. You will also receive a t-shirt that you will wear the morning you are baptized. You will want to bring a towel & change of clothes with you so you can change your clothes following your baptism.
Who can I talk to if I have other questions?
One of the pastors would be happy to answer any additional questions you have about being baptized at Otterbein. Stop by Guest Central in the church lobby on Sunday mornings if you would like to speak with them while at church on Sunday. You can also email the church office or call 717.762.7147 to set up an appointment to meet with one of the pastors.