What is Christian baptism?
Water baptism is a symbolic act that allows believers to publicly acknowledge their need for God's forgiveness.
The people of Israel evidently began practicing baptism during the period between the end of the Old Testament and the birth of Christ. When non-Jewish people came to believe in God and wanted to become members of Israel, they were required to undergo an immersion baptism. This baptism was a symbolic washing through which they agreed about their need for God's cleansing (forgiveness) of their sins.
By the time of Jesus, many Jewish people believed they were accepted by God simply because they were descendants of Abraham. This is what made John the Baptist's message so revolutionary. He told the Jewish people that they needed God's forgiveness just as much as non-Jewish people needed it, so he called on them to admit this need by being baptized (Matthew 3:1-12). John also proclaimed that the coming Messiah would provide that cleansing.
Jesus' disciples baptized his followers (John 4:1,2), and Jesus called on all Christians to baptize those who respond to the gospel (Matthew 28:19). Throughout the book of Acts, the early Christians followed Jesus' instructions. The pattern is always the same: First, people put their faith in Jesus as their savior, then they were baptized to publicly declare their faith (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 8:36-38; 9:18; 10:44-48; 16:14-15, 16:30-34; 18:8; 19:4-5).
Christian baptism, then, is not what causes you to become a Christian—it is something you do because you have become one. It is not something you do to earn God's acceptance—it is something you do because you have already received it.
Why should you be baptized?
If you have personally received Christ, you are permanently forgiven and accepted by God whether you get baptized or not (Romans 8:1; Colossians 2:13-14). However, there are some excellent reasons why you should do so.
First of all, Jesus asks us to get baptized (Matthew 28:19). Since he is the Lord, and since his will is always good, this should be reason enough for us.
Being baptized is an excellent opportunity for believers to spiritually influence others in a positive way. Non-Christian friends and family usually attend our baptisms, and they are often deeply struck by the testimonies of those baptized. Christian friends are also built up and motivated to continue sharing the gospel.
It can be a little intimidating to take a stand for your faith before a group of people but it gives you a chance to share Christ and serve others. God will challenge you to take steps of faith throughout your life, so getting baptized is a good place to start.
What is a Dwell baptism like?
Our baptisms are different than what you may have seen in other churches. They are exciting and informal, often held at a member's pool or the outdoor waterscape at our Main Campus. Usually, we baptize a group of people during each event which brings out a good number of friends and family. We view baptisms as a time of celebration for the entire church. Our large deck, covered shelter and massive grill add to the festive atmosphere.
After a teacher introduces the meaning of baptism, the fun begins. One by one, those getting baptized share stories how they came to Christ and how God has made a difference in their lives. Each discusses the personal significance of baptism and asks close spiritual friends to immerse them. After getting dunked, each person is greeted by raucous applause!
If you are interested in getting baptized, talk with your home church leader about setting up an event. In the meantime, pray about the impact you would like to have by getting baptized and start preparing your testimony.