How To Conduct a Baptism

A pastor baptizing a baby

A person’s baptism plays a significant part in his or her spiritual journey. This milestone is the moment when an individual is accepted into a certain religious community. Some religious groups believe in baptizing children at a young age, while other groups believe that it should be a decision left to an adult when he or she finds the correct community. As an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church Ministries, you may be asked to oversee a baptism at some point. Use this simple guide to learn more and follow the correct steps.

Who Can Perform a Baptism?

Baptism is a religious ceremony that is typically associated with Christianity, but it is important to note that there are a number of religions that incorporate this ritual, or other rituals involving water. Baptism is not exclusive to any single religion, and anyone can perform this ceremony, given proper training. Does that mean ordained ministers can do baptisms? Yes!

But before you can think about performing a baptism, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the general factors related to the practice. Researching the common Christian ritual is a good place to begin your research, but you’ll want to look elsewhere if you’re performing the ceremony for people who follow a different religion or are more secular in lifestyle.

The Basics of Baptism

Hands cupping water at baptism

On a symbolic level, baptism is about a person’s entrance into a particular faith. On a literal level, the ceremony almost always involves the use of water in some capacity. For Roman Catholics, a baby who is being baptized will have consecrated water poured over his or her head by a priest during the ceremony. This is one of many different ways that baptisms can take place. Some denominations of Christianity will baptize adults by bringing them to rivers or lakes of significance and submerging them under the water for a brief moment.

If you are looking to conduct this ritual for someone you know, be sure to ask this person what he or she would prefer. You don’t want to plan for a service inside a venue and learn later that you’ll be conducting it on the beach. Learn the basics and then you can plan the specifics around what is asked of you.

Creating a Script

One of the more important tasks related to preparing for a baptism is creating a script. The research that you do will inform what you include in this script. Still, it can be very helpful to have a template from which you can work. The Universal Life Church offers a number of resources on how to create a baptism script of your own.

Make sure to review the examples and take note of the structure and verbiage. The more samples you peruse, the easier it becomes to understand what should be included in the text.

Whether you opt to use a script that has been created by someone else or you write your own, it can be wise to memorize the document in advance. Reading from a piece of paper or a phone can muddy the ritual a bit, especially since you’ll need your hands free for other parts of the ceremony. Keep a copy of the script on you for reference, but try as hard as you can to be “off book” by the day of the service.

Come Prepared

Outside of the script, there are several points involved in the ritual of which you should keep mindful. Organization is key to your success, so your best bet is to create a checklist that you can follow throughout the process of preparation. On its sister website, the Universal Life Church offers a baptism package that contains everything you’ll need to be prepared for the big day.

As a minister with the Universal Life Church, you have the ability to help many people celebrate spiritual milestones. If you have been approached to conduct a baptism, the most important consideration is making time to prepare. Stay organized, understand the basics, and take advantage of the many resources the ULC has to offer.