Because we follow a Lord who "came that we might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10), we take frequent opportunities to celebrate together the changes, blessings, and richness given to us by God. Baptism is one of the most wonderful ways by which Jesus Christ called the church to joyfully celebrate God's hopes for and involvement in the human race.
What does baptism really mean?
Baptism is one of the two sacraments recognized by churches of the reformed theological tradition, the other being Holy Communion. A sacrament, by definition, is a means of grace. That is, it is a ritual act, which Jesus called us to do, using tangible signs in which God expresses and mediates to us in a special way his loving grace. In baptism, the "tangible sign" is the washing of water. Although the symbolism contained in this sign is nearly inexhaustible, there are several meanings which are particularly important. By the washing of the water we are both reminded of and joined to:
- the cleansing work accomplished by Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross which washes away the dirt of our sin;
- the refreshing, life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit of God;
- and the descent of Jesus into death and his subsequent rise to new life.
What is more, after his resurrection from the dead, Jesus told his followers to Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you... (Matt. 28:19). In this way, Jesus suggests that in addition to its other meanings, baptism is also a sign of entry into the community of faith.
Why does Christ Church baptize infants as well as adults?
The significance of baptism has its roots within the traditions of the Jewish community. A Jewish child was both a member of a family and a member of a community called God's "Chosen People." Divine grace was given to every Jewish baby at birth, in that a child was automatically a recipient of all God's promises to Israel. To recognize this act of grace at birth, the Jews adopted the custom of circumcising male children. Within the first century there is evidence that infant baptism was regarded as communicating the same truth to the Church family that circumcision communicated to the Jewish community. The Scriptures tell us that when the Philippian jailer became a Christian, he was immediately baptized along with his family (Acts 16:19-34). Other documents from the earliest days of the church show that infant baptism was also practiced where the children of believers were concerned.The baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God's love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. The baptism of adults witnesses to the truth that God longs for us to respond consciously to his love with active repentance and the gift of our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength. Both are the sign and seal of inclusion in God's grace and covenant with Christ. Both imply a continuing call to confirm the promises made by an ongoing life of discipleship and spiritual growth.
How does baptism affect your child's relationship with God?
We do not believe that baptism is, as some suppose, an "admission card" into heaven. Just because a child has been baptized, doesn't assure his or her eternal salvation. Nor does lack of baptism mean that such a child would be spiritually lost if something terrible were to happen prior to his or her experiencing this sacrament. Scripture itself records Jesus' tremendous affirmation of children:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked his people; but Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.' And he laid his hands on them... (Matt. 19:13-15)
If you have lost a young child, we hope these words of our Lord will be a particular comfort to you. Having said this, however, there is much that you as a parent can do to ensure that your child's baptism is but the beginning of a long and wonderful relationship between your child and the God who entrusted him or her to your care.
What is your role as a parent following the baptism of your child?
As a parent, you establish a covenant with God to raise your child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deut. 6:6-7). Through your training and the church family's support, your child will hopefully one day confirm the vows you make on his or her behalf, by making a personal profession of faith in Christ and recognizing his or her dependence on God alone for salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). There are a variety of things you as parent(s) can do to nurture your little one towards this end. Pray constantly for your child. Instruct your child in the ways of the Lord. Be a living example of Christian character to your children. Volunteer your services in the children and youth ministry of our church, and encourage others to do the same. Demonstrate in your own life a commitment to Christian worship, fellowship, education, and service. Remember, faith is more often "caught" than it is "taught." If knowing and serving Christ is important to you, then it is very likely to become important to your child. If it is way down the priority list for you, then it is likely to be so for your loved one too. While you won't be alone in trying to encourage your child to grow spiritually, you clearly play the most important part.
Why do we baptize in public rather than in private?
Baptism is a worship event of the community of faith. No one has ever baptized himself! The Christian life is not only an individual relationship between a believer and Christ, but involves a relationship with the total family of God, the Church. "No one lives to himself or dies to himself," says the New Testament. Jesus called the church into being to provide its participants with love and support, even when there is a breakdown of the natural family relationship, and to offer to the world a vision of what genuine community looks like.It is for this reason and more that in our tradition the entire congregation makes a vow to strengthen a child's family ties to the household of God. In a sense, the whole congregation pledges to be "godparents" to a child, wrapping arms of love and the words of the gospel around each family. At one point in the baptismal ceremony, we actually ask the congregation: Do you the people of this congregation, in receiving this child, promise with God's help to be his/her spiritual encouragers, to the end that he/she may one day confess Christ as his/her Lord and Savior and come at last to His eternal kingdom?
If you would like to invite particular friends or loved ones to play a special role as godparents to your child, that is wonderful, and we will be happy to make a place for them in the first pew during the service itself. However, we generally do not have these chosen godparents stand during the actual ceremony, except as participants in the larger affirmation of the entire family of faith.
How do I arrange for a baptism or dedication to be performed?
All baptisms or dedications must be scheduled through the worship department of the church. Please don't pick a date, invite family in from out of town, and then come to talk to us!! It is important that you understand that three things must happen in order for a baptism or dedication to take place through our church.
- First, the individual to be baptized -- or at least one of the parents of the individual in the case of a proposed infant baptism or dedication -- must be a member of Christ Church. Since baptism is into the community of faith, it normally ought to be done in the church which will be the individual's weekly spiritual home from that point forward.
- Second, the individual to be baptized -- or the parents of the individual in the case of a proposed infant baptism -- must meet with one of the pastors of the church ahead of time. In addition to answering your questions, this interview is intended to assure that the individual or parents understand the meaning of baptism, are comfortable with the flow of the proposed ceremony, and can answer the baptismal questions in good conscience.
- Third, provided all of the above lines up, the pastor will then schedule a specific baptismal date and time (on the third Sunday of each month). It should be noted that it is likely that more than one individual will be baptized during the same service.
We hope this helps to answer many of your questions. Please feel free to contact Susan Mech at 630-321-3926 or email@example.com if we can be helpful to you and/or your family in any way.
Our wedding ministry is focused on members of Christ Church. However, men and women who are active at Christ Church and regularly participate in worship are also welcome to apply! If you are considering whether to conduct your marriage ceremony at Christ Church, we will ask you to engage with us in the following ways:
- Review our Policy on the Redemptive Community & Marriage to determine whether you will qualify for a wedding under the auspices of Christ Church. If so, please proceed with the following steps.
- Attend Worship: We invite you to attend worship services here for 3-4 weeks prior to submitting your application. We want you to find out who we are as a church, so you know the context into which you are entering.
- Submit Application (with deposit and photo): Once your application is received, your date (if available) will be held as pending. For your own sake, please be aware that we are not responsible for reservations that you might make elsewhere which may end up being changed. Please wait until you receive written confirmation before making arrangements.
- Pastoral Interview: Once your application is received, we may set up an initial interview with a pastor. [You may request a pastor on your application; if available, the pastor will be assigned. If not, we will work with you to find a suitable match. If you are unsure of whom you would like, please let us know upfront and we will be happy to help you in your selection.]
- Participate in our Marriage Matters Workshop. This event provides valuable instruction in marriage skills and an opportunity to meet other couples on a similar journey. All engaged couples are invited to attend.
- Fill out an online premarital inventory for both you and your partner.
- Pastoral Counseling Sessions: Meet with your assigned pastor to discuss the Prepare inventory and to plan the wedding ceremony. (3-6 sessions)
- Attend Christ Church worship services during the time of your engagement and look for ways to become involved in the life of the church. We want to be a resource to you over the long haul of your relationship, not just at the beginning.
- If previously divorced: If you have been divorced, we ask that there be at least a one year waiting period between the time of the divorce and your wedding. In addition, we ask that you attend a divorce recovery program.
- Role of Faith: Most importantly, we will ask you to do some serious reflection and discussion regarding the role Jesus Christ plays in your life; your commitment to follow him in your marriage; and ways that you might nurture and encourage your faith in your marriage. We will want to know that you can subscribe in both principle and practice to the Christian concepts for marriage.
- Time Needed: In order to insure that we have adequate time to walk through all these steps we ask that a minimum of six months be given to fulfill all the requirements.
We as a church and staff believe we have a responsibility, before God, to prepare men and women for a marriage that will last a lifetime. Christ Church wants to help break the cycle of divorce that plagues our culture. We also want to get to know you and have you get to know us. We believe that marriages thrive when faith is alive and when a couple is vitally linked to a faith community.
For more information, please email Susan Mech, firstname.lastname@example.org
Funeral Services and Memorial Services are provided for both members and non-members of Christ Church of Oak Brook.
Funeral or Memorial services provide an important time and place for loved ones to express the love they feel for their departed loved one and the thanksgiving they want to express to God for the gift of life as known in their loved one; to process some of the grief they feel; to benefit from the support of friends and family; and to experience the grace and Spirit of God.
The ministerial staff of the Prayer & Care Department is available to assist persons in either the pre-planning or planning of these important services of worship and remembrance. The facilities and musical resources of the church are available for said services. Receptions can also be provided.
The "Funeral & Memorial" brochure will answer your questions and direct you in the process of having a funeral or memorial service at Christ Church of Oak Brook.
"Preparing for Eternity" is a guide for reflecting on the future and helping persons and their loved ones prepare for death. Members of the Pastoral Staff of Christ Church of Oak Brook have assembled this booklet to provide a place for you to record information that you would want known at the time of your death. The booklet gives you a place to record information about...
- Your wishes regarding the prolonging of your life.
- Who should be contacted at the time of your death.
- Where important documents are located.
- Your wishes regarding final disposition of your remains.
- Your wishes regarding funeral/memorial services.
- Some helpful resources.
- And other provocative and relevant issues