First Steps

First Steps: A parent’s guide to baptism
Derek Williams and Mark Earey. Narrated by Ems Hancock. CPAS, 2005

£10.00 (Approx)
4.2
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

A new baby. A new beginning. And for many families that will mean thinking about baptism for the very first time. Assuming nothing about church background, First Steps outlines the meaning of baptism while sketching the basics of Christian faith – it could be the start of the journey of lifetime.

What do you get?

Video download with 10 minute presentation, brief leader’s guide from www.cpas.org.uk/shop/category/16/view/254. Sections are: Introduction to the DVD; Introduction to baptism; What is Christianity?; The baptism service; Summary.

Who is it for?

Adults, Enquirers

Cost?

£10.00

Review

  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Great. Nicely presented and easy to use.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Clear, to the point, and helpful.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Leader's guide has teeny font, but very easy-to-follow suggestions for discussion in reaction to the video. Questions are loosely based on the progression of the video. Bible passages for leader's ‘prayer and preparation' also included. Around this is material which suggests different uses of the video, plus a variety of follow-up ideas, all couched in terms of encouraging sensitivity, genuine care, and imaginative relationships with baptism enquirers.

    Who could lead it?

    Designed for use by both lay and clergy, and easy to use by either. Emphasis on sensitivity to the individuals concerned.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    The video is engaging and straight-forward. It explains both the concept of baptism, and the Christian faith, in very clear and acceptable ways – no jargon.

    How good is any digital material?

    Clear and engaging illustrated presentation of the basic Christian message.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Watch the video and read the leader's guide. Using the suggested biblical material as personal preparation would be well worth giving time to.

    Is there website support? Links?

    N/A

    Is it dated?

    No, but designed for a culture where what is ‘true' is less important than what ‘works', and Western-style assumptions.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Good, open questions are non-threatening with no ‘right' answers.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Good mix of short video sections and thoughtful but clear discussion questions.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Would work with most families who are thinking of baptism for their child, even those who have experience of church. Clear, engaging and to the point. Thanksgiving included as an option. Not designed for adult baptism.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Discussion questions are designed for the leader, or visitor to the family, to work through in a supportive way with them. Creative ideas as to what could be done to build on the relationship, after First Steps.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Leader's preparation all Bible-based. Video presentation based on story of Jesus and why he came.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Bible passages for leader's prayer and preparation are a welcome inclusion in this resource. Great idea.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Clear, honest and engaging explanation of the biblical story of Jesus and the meaning of his life, death and resurrection. Implications of following him illustrated with the concept of journey. Light, clear and firm.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    Evangelical.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Baptism explained as turning from one way of life, and seeking to go God's way, with parents leading the way. This is seen as a first step for the child, and a commitment for the parents to bring the child up to follow Jesus.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    Non-judgemental explanation as to how baptism is part of the basic Christian message, baby and parents together. Explains the responsibility on parents to give their child ‘ongoing practical and spiritual support', based on turning around and going God's way themselves.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    Good and clear introduction to the Christian message, with implications of baptism spelled out. Not too much information – just the right amount to explain and to stimulate discussion. Explanation as to what it means to become and live as a Christian.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Non-cringy and talks normally about commonplace ideas about God, and misconceptions about baptism. Encourages honesty about these and recognises that the parents may have a range of thoughts and emotions, which must be treated seriously.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This is to be used for reaching out to those who have limited contact with the Christian church. It is low-key but honest and should be effective.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Again, this is designed for use in the community, to make connections and build relationships between church and community.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus. Targeted for Western-world assumptions.

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