Baptism is one of the most significant experiences of a person’s life. It marks a sacred commitment, the gate to the Celestial Kingdom. They will remember the experience throughout their life and especially how they feel. When you envision a “Celestial Baptism,” what do you think of? Would it be on that you would be happy for the Prophet to attend? What will the program be like? Who will attend? How will they feel? How can you make this a reality?
For a great baptism program template, click here.
Baptismal Service Goals:
- Reverent atmosphere
- Filled with the Spirit
- Candidate completely immersed the first time
- Ward water
- Members, non-members, and other investigators present
- The feeling of “Coming unto Christ” as the central focus of the baptism
Baptism services should be brief, simple, and spiritual.
It may include:
- Prelude music
- A brief welcome by the priesthood leader conducting the service
- An opening hymn and prayer
- One or two short talks on gospel subjects such as baptism and the Holy Ghost
- A musical selection
- Performance of the baptism
- A time of reverence while the people who participated in the baptism change into dry clothes. This could include interlude music, singing of well-known hymns or primary songs, bearing of testimonies or other activities to invite the spirit. It could be also include a brief gospel presentation by the full-time missionaries for non-members who may be present.
- An opportunity for new converts to bear their testimony, if desired
- A closing hymn and prayer
- An invitation to everyone including non-members to attend Sacrament meeting on Sunday to witness the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
- Postlude music
To remove confusion
Make the following contacts and preparations ahead of time:
- Pianist, chorister, hymns, and other special music
- Presiding and conducting
- Make sure baptism clothing is available in the right size(s)
- Prepare a baptismal program
- Arrange for filling the baptismal font 2-3 hours in advance of the baptism so that the water is warm
- Prepare a table with materials — Copies of the Book of Mormon, baptism program, pass along cards, or other Missionary Materials
- Arrange for a picture of the Savior to be displayed
- Set out hymn books
For a convert baptism:
- Prepare the investigator for the interview. Let them know what to expect ahead of time. (“It’s not a test, it’s just to make sure that we’ve taught you everything correctly”, etc)
- Arrange for the interview
- Work with the investigator to plan who to invite to the baptism. Consider immediate family, other close relatives, close friends, other investigators currently being taught, priesthood leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers, auxiliary offices and teachers who will be working with the new member, other ward members.
- Extend invitations to attend the baptism service
- Practice the baptism with the investigator so they are completely immersed the first time
- Memorize the baptismal prayer
- Know the full name of the person being baptized
- Instruct the investigator to bring a towel and extra undergarments.
- Confirm that baptism clothes of the right size are available at the Church.
Follow these tips, and you’ll no doubt have an excellent, and more importantly, Celestial baptismal service! Have any other tips that are worth mentioning here? Let us know!