The act of baptism - being immersed under water and coming up again - is a vivid picture of how each Christian has been identified with Christ's death and resurrection. Baptism is a physical reminder of the salvation that a person has received by faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is not a means of salvation, rather it is an expression of the salvation that we have been given. The moment someone repents and trusts in Jesus, their old self has been crucified and they begin a new life with God (John 5:24). The apostle Paul explains the imagery of baptism in Colossians 2:12, "having been buried with him through baptism and raised with him though your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." Jesus commanded for his followers to baptize others (Matt. 28:19-20), and since baptism is such a strong reminder of our identification with Christ, we believe it is an important step of obedience for every Christian. At Trinity Fellowship we do not require baptism as a prerequisite for membership in the church.
The pattern in the New Testament was for individuals to be baptized after they had repented and made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. After the apostle Peter shares the gospel message in Acts chapter two the text says, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day." Also in Acts chapter eight we find, "But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." Because of these and other examples, we believe that only those individuals who have already made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized. Some churches baptize infants, however there are no explicit examples of infant baptisms in the New Testament, And because we believe that baptism is not a means of salvation, we prefer to baptize only those who have made a decision to follow Jesus and are old enough to understand that decision. For infants we usually perform a child dedication. In this dedication we ask for the Lord's blessing on the child's life, and we emphasize the responsibility of the parents and the congregation to bring the child up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
The Greek word used for baptism in the New Testament is baptizo, which literally means "to immerse." Mark 1:5 describes people being baptized by John "in the river Jordan." It is clear from this and other passages that baptism was practiced by full immersion into water, and also in a public place. Therefore at Trinity Fellowship we practice baptism by immersion (unless someone is physically unable), and we often perform baptisms in the Muskegon River, where individuals can proclaim their allegiance to Jesus for all to see.
Baptism is a great blessing and a time to praise God for his grace and to affirm Christians in their faith. If you have made a faith-commitment to Jesus then you should be baptized, please contact the church office (231-796-2600). You will then meet with one of the pastors before being baptized.