February 1, 2024

Baptism and Membership FAQ

What is baptism? 

Baptism is an ordinance for the church in which the believer participates to symbolize his or her spiritual union with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3–5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27). It’s a church’s act of affirming and portraying a believer’s union with Christ by immersing him or her in water as an entry point into membership, and a believer’s act of publicly committing him or herself to Christ and His people, the church, marking off him or her from the world. Baptism into water further symbolizes our washing and cleansing from sin which occurred at conversion (Acts 22:16). 

When should I be baptized? 

If you have faith in Jesus Christ, you should be baptized. We practice credo-baptism, or believer’s baptism, meaning we believe that baptism follows a credible profession of faith. Following the example of the early church, we believe baptism should shortly follow a profession of faith. Baptism is a matter of obedience to our Lord, and is the first step of obedience He asks of His disciples. 

Can baptism save me? 

There is no causal link between baptism and salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8–9; Phil. 3:9). Though baptism does not cause salvation, it does tell the world who Christ’s people are. Those who trust in Jesus do what He says, and He tells those who trust in Him to be baptized. 

Is baptism required for membership? 

In the New Testament, baptism is always closely connected with membership. Jesus has appointed baptism as the means by which his followers publicly profess their faith in Him. In church membership, the church publicly affirms someone’s profession of faith in Christ, and a church can’t affirm the profession of someone who hasn’t yet made that profession. Further, baptism is a command of our Lord to his people (Matt. 28:18-20). It is an act of obedience. Since part of church membership is sharpening your faith and challenging you to obedience, we require baptism as an entry point in order to be an obedient follower of Christ. 

What if I was baptized as an infant? 

We recognize that people come to Ignite from different faith communities and backgrounds within the broader Church—many of which hold different views about the meaning of baptism. At Ignite, we believe baptism is an outward symbol of the new life given to a believer by the Spirit when he or she personally trusts in Christ for salvation (Rom. 6:1–14; 1 Cor. 1:18; Matt. 28:19–20). If you have not been baptized as a believer, we urge you to prayerfully search the Scriptures and be convinced in your own mind on the matter. Since we believe it is the plain teaching of Scripture and desire for you to be an obedient disciple, we require believer’s baptism prior to becoming a member at Ignite.

Will Ignite Church baptize someone who is not becoming a member?

The New Testament connects baptism and membership. Therefore, we are hesitant to baptize an individual who is openly resistant to committing himself or herself to membership. However, in certain circumstances, we may baptize an individual who, although unable to join Ignite Church, intends to become a member of another Christian church in the near future. 

Who is permitted to baptize believers at Ignite Church? 

Baptism is one of two ordinances given by Jesus to the church, for the church to administer. Because pastor/elders oversee the local church, they are generally the ones who baptize. A person may, however, want to be baptized by a family member, mentor, or friend who has made a major spiritual impact in their life and faith in Jesus. If an individual wants someone other than an Ignite Church pastor to baptize them, the person baptizing must be a Christian, share our convictions about baptism, and be willing to follow our guidelines. It is preferred that they be a member in good standing at a Christian church. 

Are the children of members automatically members? 

We believe in regenerate church membership, which means that membership should be limited to those who have experienced regeneration. In other words, only those who have repented and trusted in the Lord Jesus can be baptized and admitted into membership, including children. Though a child may not be a member of the church, we recognize a difference between children who grow up with Christian parents, and children who do not (1 Cor. 7:14). We don’t treat non-member children like outsiders, but include and involve them in the life of the church, train them in what it means to follow Jesus, and provide a space for them to enjoy the protection, teaching, and fellowship of belonging to the church. 

Can a child be baptized and become a member? 

Because baptism and church membership are means by which the church publicly affirms a believer’s profession of faith, we believe that they should not be withheld from young believers. However, we want to carefully discern whether or not a child possesses true faith in Jesus to ensure that they’re the appropriate next steps in his or her discipleship. Therefore, a child can be baptized and become a member by following the same process as adults under the authority and care of their parents. A child will be baptized when his or her parents and the elders together agree that the child understands, articulates, and embraces the Gospel, believer’s baptism, and the responsibilities of church membership. Then, upon being baptized and admitted into church membership, the parents, with the help of the members of Ignite Church, will work to disciple such children, bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, to grow in Christ and mature in the faith. 

Does Ignite Church establish a particular age for children to be baptized?

We hesitate to establish a particular age because there is no particular age that God brings about regeneration and faith. Age ten and older is typically when a child is able to understand, articulate, and embrace the Gospel, believer’s baptism, and the responsibilities of church

membership. It is also in this age range that children age out of IGNITEkids and naturally make a transition to greater participation in the church. However, age ten and older is a general guideline and we are willing to baptize younger children or wait until they’re older, treating every person on a case-by-case basis, no matter the age. 

Does a person need to be a baptized member to participate in The Lord’s Supper? 

Communion, or The Lord’s Supper, is an ordinance that marks the people of the church as one body. We invite anyone with faith in Jesus to join us in taking the Lord’s Supper. However, because the Lord’s Supper is for the church, it would be most proper for an individual to be baptized before they participate in the Lord’s Supper. We won’t prevent unbaptized individuals from taking the Lord’s Supper, but we encourage them to prioritize getting baptized. This also applies to children. If you think your child is ready to participate in the Lord’s Supper, they are also likely ready to be baptized. 

If you have further questions, please complete our baptism form and designate that you would like to learn more about baptism. We would love to answer your questions and help you take your next steps.