March 7, 2024

This project is shared by St. John’s Lutheran Church & School Life Team in Grand Haven, Michigan.

The idea came from the Lutherans For Life booklet, How You Can “Speak” (LFL100B). One of the ideas noted in the booklet was to “share God’s Word about the blessings of Baptism.”

The Blessings of Baptism project was introduced at a Life Team meeting and scheduled for Life Sunday in 2020. Invitations were mailed to families with baptized children from 2019. Two families came to the celebration. Pastor William Cate preached a life message, followed by a Bible study. Families were recognized at the altar during worship and received long-stemmed red roses. (In 2021, the event was scheduled, but sadly no one came due to COVID-19. The Life Team decided to skip the event in 2022.)

In May of 2023, St John’s Lutheran Church was blessed with the addition of Pastor Aaron Vergin. Baptisms were occurring every month. The Life Team celebrated Protect Life Sunday in October, and as they were planning their fall activities, they considered bringing back the Baptism celebration.

Life Team Leader Paula Cate approached Pastor Vergin about hosting the baptism celebration in January of 2024. Pastor Vergin was enthusiastic, and the event was added to the church calendar on Sunday, January 14, 2024, in correlation with the day to remember the Baptism of Jesus. Although winter weather snowstorms played a factor, the congregation celebrated God’s gift of Baptism with four families.

Blessings of Baptism Timeline (2-3 months)

  • Gain approval from the pastor and engage him in the planning process.
  • Confirm the event date on the church calendar and reserve any rooms needed.
  • Develop an event budget. (The Life Team’s budget was around $100 for gifts, the invitation mailing, and refreshments. The Life Team self-funded the project.)
  • Gather the names and address of the families with baptized member(s) from the year.
  • Create and mail invitations 4-6 weeks in advance. (The Life Team mailed nine families a hand-addressed invitation and greeting. The invitation read, “Please join the Life Team of St. John’s Lutheran Church as we celebrate and thank God for your child’s Baptism. All families of children baptized into the saving grace of Jesus during 2023 are invited to participate.”)
  • Collaborate with the pastor and/or the worship team to plan the details for the recognition of the families during worship. (Families were recognized during worship one at a time. Each family was called to the front of the sanctuary and received a long-stemmed red rose and a handmade white dove constructed out of paper with the child’s name and Baptism date.)
  • Organize food and refreshments for celebration and fellowship after the worship service. (The Life Team served cookies, coffee, tea, and water.)
  • Promote the event. (Utilize your church’s communication resources—bulletin board, email, newsletter, printed bulletin, or Facebook page.)
  • Determine recognition for all participants. Be creative! (The Life Team created posters with all the names of the baptized members.)
  • Worship Service Celebration & Fellowship (The families were celebrated one at a time during worship. Outside the sanctuary, the Life Team organized a Lutherans For Life display with brochures, children’s worship coloring sheets, and posters with all the participants’ names. Refreshments and fellowship followed worship.)

 Reflections from the Life Team

Paula Cate, Life Team Leader, reflected on the celebration:

“This event was a blessing for our church family to witness how the Lord had added to our church during the previous year. Seeing the babies, children, and families together was a joyous occasion. The fellowship that followed provided an opportunity to become acquainted with the parents and a chance to admire the little ones.”

The Life Team enjoyed doing this activity and hope to repeat it in 2025!