AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
[THE CANDIDATE(S) COME FORWARD]
Then Jesus came to them and said:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matt.28:18-20.
Jesus gave us a commandment and a promise. Because of them we are here today. Because of them these persons are here to make the covenant of baptism with God and His people. We are witnesses of their choice, but more than that, we are their companions in it.
Baptism is an act both of God and of us. In it God gives us the covenant of a good conscience, as Peter says. It enacts what God has done with us: made us dead unto sin and alive unto himself. In it we also respond to God, letting go of ourselves, dying to ourselves, to be given new life by God's Spirit. It is a public witness of what has happened to us.
Baptism is an act both of a person and a community. It seals our decision to turn from living for ourselves, and against God and other people, to living for them. John uses to most personal words possible to describe becoming a Christian: IT IS TO BE BORN AGAIN, into a new humanity. This new humanity of which we are a part affirms that God is at work, that conversion and baptism are not only the private experience of one person, but acts of God which the church accepts and stands by. Baptism is communal because when we are born again our new life is with others, not against them, most particularly is it with the body of Christ.
And so we also recognize that Christ gave us the Church as the visible expression of this new humanity, the reality of his Body. Our act of membership is the act of expressing our belonging into that Body, and an expression of our commitment one to another in love, for our mutual growth as members of Christ and to the glory of our Lord.
1. Do you now confess faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior from the power and guilt of sin, trusting in the forgiveness and renewing power of God declared through Jesus' death and resurrection?
Answer: I DO
2. In response to that love, do you now commit yourself to Christ and to His service through the church, and will you seek by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit to turn from sin; will you foster communion with God in prayer and the use of His Word; and as far as you know, will you lead an upright Christian life according to God's revealed will and to the honor of His name?
Answer: WITH GOD'S HELP, I WILL
3. Baptism is also an act of identifying with God's mission for the world. So I ask you now, do you desire to be baptized upon this faith in Christ and to be received into the church of Jesus Christ, identifying yourself with God's mission for the world through the church, fostering communion with fellow Christians, willingly offering the gifts God gives you for the common good and growth of Christ's church and for the sharing of the Good News with the world?
Answer: I DO
BAPTISM: [CANDIDATE(S) KNEEL]
"Tammy Kehler, Crystal Klassen, Eldon Thiessen, upon your confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
RECEPTION AS MEMBER(S): [CANDIDATE(S) REMAIN KNEELING UNTIL THEY RECEIVE THE RIGHT HAND]
"In the name of Christ and of the church I now extend to you the right hand of fellowship and welcome you as brother/sister into the Springfield Heights Mennonite Church. May the Lord bless you and make you to be a blessing."
[Deacon hands me the Cards and I read the Baptismal Verse]
RECEPTION OF MEMBERS BY TRANSFER OR TESTIMONY
Wir haben als Gemeinde einen besonderen Segen erfahren, wo du uns von deinem Glauben bezeugt hast, und wir dich auf Grund deines Glaubens an Jesus Christus in unsere Gemeinde aufnehmen durften. Bevor wir dich noch einmal mit der Handreichung Willkommen heißen will ich dir im Namen der Gemeinde einige Fragen stellen:
1. Willst du deinen Bund mit Gott und deine Treue zu Christus, unserm Herrn und seinem Evangelium erneuern?
2. Indem daß du dich dieser Gemeinde anschliesst, versprichst du mit uns einen Bund zu machen, Gott gemeinsam anzubeten und gebetsvoll zu dienen durch deine treue Mitarbeit und Haushalterschaft?
Antwort: Ja, mit Gottes Hilfe
3. Versprichst du, in christlicher Gemeinschaft, Liebe und Vergebung zu geben und zu empfangen, und mit uns in Freude und Leid zu teilen.
RECEPTION AS MEMBER(S):
“Im Namen unseres Herrn Jesus Christus und der Gemeinde reiche ich dir die Hand und heiße dich herzlich Willkommen als Schwester in der Springfield Heights Mennoniten Gemeinde. Der Herr segne dich und setze dich zum Segen.”
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy --- to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 24,25)