Baptism or Invitation to Discipleship
The proclamation of God’s Word calls for our faithful response. After the sermon, the people may be called to discipleship, giving opportunity for any who wish to make or renew personal commitment to Christ and his realm. These words are appropriately delivered by an elder from the baptismal font. Elders should be appointed to meet and pray with such persons at an appropriate time during or after the service of worship.
All who thirst, come to the waters.
Jesus said: Those who drink of the water that I give
will never be thirsty.
The water that I give will be a spring for them,
gushing up to eternal life.
Isa. 55:1, John 4:14
The God of grace calls us into covenant relationship
with Jesus Christ, in the communion of the Holy Spirit.
If you are seeking deeper relationship with God
through the sacrament of baptism,
or if you desire to reaffirm your commitment to Christ,
and to be renewed in your baptismal discipleship, come.
It is Christ who calls, and Christ who welcomes you here.
As an act of the whole church, the sacrament of Baptism is celebrated (except for extraordinary circumstances) in the context of public worship. It appropriately follows the reading and proclamation of the Word, as a response to the good news we have received.
The Reaffirmation of Baptism upon profession of faith (confirmation) or upon the reception of new members (previously baptized) may also be included here.
Notes adapted from Supplemental Liturgical Resource 1 (WJKP, 1984).
Excerpt from Worshiping God Together: A Guide for Children and Their Parents:
Baptism is the way we become members of the church, the body of Christ or family of God. It is a sign of everything God has promised us — new life in Jesus, forgiveness of sin, and the coming of a new creation. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit rested on him like a bird from heaven, and God said: “You are my beloved child.” God says the same thing to us when we are baptized.
Everyone who is baptized is a kind of minister — called to live like Jesus, to love others, and to serve God. Each one of us is given special gifts from the Holy Spirit to help us do these things. When we remember our baptism, we give thanks for these gifts and this calling, and we promise again to follow Jesus in everything we do.
Directory for Worship
Response to the Word also involves acts of commitment and recognition. The Sacrament of Baptism may be observed. (W-3.3601–.3607) Baptized believers may be received as members of the particular church as they make public their profession of faith for the first time, or as they reaffirm that faith or transfer their church membership. (For the services of reception and commissioning see W-4.2000; W-4.3000; cf. G-5.0000; G-10.0102b.) It is also appropriate to offer opportunities for individuals or the gathered congregation to engage in reaffirming the commitments made at Baptism. (W-4.2005)
Other acts of commitment which may appropriately be included as response to the Word are
(a) Christian marriage (W-4.9000),
(b) ordination and installation of church officers (W-4.4000),
(c) commissioning for service in and to the church in such roles as Christian educator, church school teacher, organizational officer, or group adviser (W-4.3000; cf. W-3.3701).
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order, W-3.3502–.3503