Getting ready for Baptism

Getting Ready for Baptism: A practical course preparing children for baptism
Richard Burge, Penny Fuller and Mary Hawes. Barnabas for Children, and imprint of BRF, 2014

£8.99 (Approx)
3.2
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

Baptism is a very special moment in the Christian journey. It is a moment of awe and wonder, and of recognition that we are accepted by God and special in his sight. Getting Ready for Baptism recognises that baptism can take place at any age and stage of life. Its aim is to deepen understanding of the biblical background to baptism for all involved and to explore what it means to be a child of God. With the emphasis on facilitating rather than a teacher-led approach, the material seeks to encourage all those involved in the sacrament, whether they are the candidate, the parent, godparent, friend, extended family member or member of the church community.

Part 1 focuses on baptism as a ministry. It explores the relationship between the candidate, parents and godparents, examines the place of discipleship for those taking part, considers the implications of baptism for the whole worshipping community, and places the emphasis on baptism being a step to belonging as well as a statement of belief. Part 2 offers three practical sessions: Come to the party!, Enjoy the party!, Party on! Free template downloads are available at www.barnabasinchurches.org.uk/9780857460196

What do you get?

Course Book, Activity Book for children, free template downloads. 3 sessions: Come to the party!, Enjoy the party!, Party on! 

Who is it for?

Children, and/or the families of babies who are to be baptised. Adult, children, youth, enquiring, beginning

Cost?

£8.99 for the Course Book, additional resources are free to download here.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of the material?

    Glossy A5 leader's guide and Activity Book. A mixed resource with material for leaders to work through, as well as sessions for those considering baptism – at whatever age.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Overall, the aim of the material is to provide ‘a wealth of ideas for baptism services, and for preparing those who come to church for baptism . . .to explore the various options on the baptismal menu while being aware of [their own] particular traditions.' Part 1 is designed to help leaders think through baptism as ministry as an aim. The 3 sessions in part 2 have clear aims for each one.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Rather dense layout, despite the boxed text sections. Thought-provoking notes around baptism as ministry to work through, punctuated by questions to answer about one's own situation. A 45-minute session is included here as well, for multi-purpose – either individually, as a group or with baptism candidates. In Part 2, leader's notes explore the theme before the actual session material begins. Here, a choice of main elements appear before the ‘starters' and ‘desserts' options. A good range of ideas in all, but not ready-to-go, in that there is text to read and decisions to make. The appendices at the end/as downloads include a ‘menu' plan to make this easier; but there is quite a bit to think through. ‘You will need' sections at the head of each session. Last session is designed for post-baptism which is innovative.

    Who could lead it?

    Church leader or those responsible for preparing baptismal candidates/visiting families interested in bringing their children for baptism.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Activity book: Short but lively activity book for children who can read and write. Designed for child who wants to be baptised, or for their sibling, friend or relation. Interactive all the way through, with creative spaces for writing and drawing in response to issues around baptism. Attractively done. Includes infant, child and adult baptism as concepts.

    How good is any digital material?

    N/A

    How much prep will I have to do?

    A significant amount, if you work through the thinking section in Part 1, and then choose and prepare material for groups/families/training others/candidates. Loads to read and lots of items to collect for activities.

    Is there website support? Links?

    No

    Is it dated?

    No.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Great range of discussion and group activities. Deeply interactive.

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

    Interactive base for the sessions, with facilitation encouraged as delivery style. An extraordinarily creative resource.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This gentle resource is designed to be as broad as possible, but it needs commitment and time to dig out the bits that you want. Having said that, the ideas for the sessions include some very good creative ideas that extensively explore the baptism theme, in an extraordinary variety of ways. However, it would probably not suit a believer's-baptism-only situation, nor someone in a hurry.

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

    Families and candidates encouraged to work together on various activities, and in preparation for the baptism itself.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Concept of baptism based on baptism of Jesus as a Trinitarian occasion. Some activities include exploring biblical passages within Part 1. Focus on biblical stories in Part 2.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Grounding for baptism in Jesus' baptism is explored in Part 1. A variety of other passages and biblical characters also included. Simple exploration of biblical characters and stories within options for Part 2 sessions.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Most questions around the passages are centred around application. Practical and focused.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    This aims to be a broad resource and largely succeeds. It would probably not suit a believer's-baptism-only situation.

     

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

    Central theme of ‘party' works well for exploring the concept of baptism. Obviously the emphasis is on starting out as a Christian, but this is broadened out to include an imaginative range of implications. Last session is designed for post-baptism.

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

    Lots of hands-on interaction to help all ages think about baptism, about the words of commitment, and work out how being a Christian be expressed in their lives (eg how to pray).

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

    All the activities and topics are linked in well with exploring faith and one's vision of God, from a beginner's point of view.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    All potential group members catered for, from children to adult candidates to godparents, and how baptism may impact them now and into the future. Honesty about one's own experiences of life are encouraged.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Not a focus within the resource but can be used for evangelism from the church.

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

    Baptism seen as an essentially community-based event, based in the church. Emphasis on how to build connections between candidates, their families and the church community.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a focus.

     

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