The Archbishops’ Council commissioned extensive research to help find out why families choose to have their children baptized, and why they might choose not to. It focused on baptisms of children under 12. The research offered a basis on which new resources for churches could be developed to help them:
Baptism is where we welcome a child into the family of God’s people, and rejoice in God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ. Ministry around baptism is also explicitly about church growth. At the beginning of every baptism service these words are said: “In baptism the Lord is adding to our number..” The research and resources aim to help churches deliver exactly that.
All recent Church of England materials designed to be given to families to support baptism ministry use the word ‘christening’ as a starting point. Find out why it’s so important and helpful to use the word ‘christening’ when opening conversations with families about baptism.
For some families a thanksgiving service will be the right place to start their faith journey. It can happen alongside baptism, at an early stage of contact with a family, or as a joyful occasion in its own right. It’s a great opportunity to offer a special time of celebration, being with family and friends and praying for a child. Read on to discover more about the opportunities and the service.
Whether you live in a large town, a suburb or a rural village, there may be places where families with young children gather. Whether this is a first child or a new addition to a growing family, the research shows that parents are anxious about the future, concerned about responsibility and want the best for their child. Discover how to help families find out about how the church is a place of welcome for them.
Godparents are really significant to families. Read more about why they’re so important and how churches can involve godparents along the baptism-planning journey. Plus, view tips on how to help them understand more about their role.
Helping families to get ready for baptism is more than just rehearsing them for the day. Whether you are meeting for just one session or several times, there are some good ideas to make sure the baptism really is the start of a lifetime of exploring faith at home and with their new church family.
It is often the things that the church takes for granted that make a big impact on families and their guests. Praying for them by name, the way water is poured into the font, a lighted candle, even applause, are all very significant moments. Adding a personal touch at each step makes it even more special for the family and their guests. Small things can make a big difference…
The best news in the research is that families want and expect churches to keep in touch with them. Following up with families in the weeks and months after the service has a really positive impact on church growth. Here’s more about how to follow up well.