Truth is, you really can get married anywhere; the Vineyard is just one of many options. Our goal is not to have you jump through "several hoops" to get married, but rather, we really believe God has nothing but good things for us and has invited us to partner with him as we grow as followers of Jesus and as a spouse.
We would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to connect with you and your partner to hear your story and dream together about what God has in store for you and your partner.
So where do we go from here?
1. Give us a call! Contact us at 218-525-3462 or send us a message and express your interest in meeting with someone about getting married. We’ll take down your information and get you connected with one of our leaders here at the Vineyard.
2. You and your fiancé will meet with a leader to hear how you met, hear your engagement story, and celebrate with you. Then we’ll talk out loud about what it looks like to get married at the Vineyard. There are no tricks or hoops to jump through, but we do see from the Bible that there are several things we can do as followers of Jesus that will set our relationships up for success. We’ll also go through a wedding packet that spells out in detail everything we have to offer for your wedding. After this meeting, you’ll have the opportunity to reserve a date and location for your wedding if you so desire.
3. Register for Fully Engaged, our premarital class here at the Vineyard. Fully Engaged is a six-week course we offer two times a year that strategically delves into areas of married life that many couples get hung up on. Also, you’ll have the chance to sit down with one of our marriage coaches to walk through several resources we offer, as well as answer any questions you may have. We highly recommend this class for anyone who is considering getting married, regardless if you’re getting married at the Vineyard or not. Contact us to be registered for the next available course
Thanks so much for taking time to investigate what it looks like to get married here at the Vineyard. Once again, we'd love to partner with you in your wedding and everything life has to offer after you're married. We look forward to connecting with you soon.
Most lifelong healthy habits are learned at home. See your child as an “apprentice Christian,” one who will someday decide whether to continue the journey as a student of God. So, be a role model for what you want to develop in your child. Prayerfully saturate your child in God’s Word and Spirit. Model a commitment to serving the church community. Live a life dedicated to following Jesus in the power of the Spirit. As your child grows and daily ingests these “spiritual vitamins,” he or she will be better prepared to hear the gospel and follow Jesus as an adult. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Think about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up (Dt. 6:4-7).
What is Child Dedication?
A commitment to cooperate with God’s purposes. Being a friend of God is a lifelong adventure. And God’s sovereignty lays a solid foundation for the relationship he longs to have with your child. He does this even before your child is born (Eph. 1:4-6). King David was in awe of the loving hand of the Father seen in the development of every person: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth" (Ps. 139: 13-16). God’s ultimate goal is to continue to develop and shape your child into the likeness of Jesus (Rom. 8: 29). In the Child Dedication Service, parents and the church community—together—make a personal and public commitment to cooperate with God’s loving purpose to raise the child according to God’s biblical design.
What is the biblical precedent for dedicating children?
We dedicate children following the example of parents in the Bible who publicly dedicated their children to God because he had entrusted them to their care. Hannah dedicated Samuel with these words: "I prayed for this child, and the Lord had granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:27-28). Mary and Joseph dedicated baby Jesus: "And the child grew and became strong: he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” (Lk. 2:40). May this blessing be true of your child too! Jesus especially loved children and taught that we were to depend upon God the way a child depends upon parents: "People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them, but Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”" (Luke 18:15-16).
What is the difference between child dedication and baptism?
You can’t decide when or if your child will enter a marriage relationship. The decision to marry (and whom to marry) will be his or her own. Furthermore, we can’t guarantee a happy marriage. Likewise, you can’t “decide” your child’s relationship with God. People must make their own decisions to begin a relationship with Jesus—to follow him, and allow the Spirit to lead every area of their lives. Baptism does not initiate a relationship with God. It shows, in your obedience to be baptized, that you already have one. It does not make you a follower of Jesus. It shows you already are one. Baptism does not save you. Your faith in Christ saves you (Eph. 2:9). So, we do not baptize people until they are old enough to know and understand that their sin has separated them from a saving relationship with God. When people are old enough to see they are responsible for their sin before God and understand and trust the remedy that Christ’s death and resurrection provides, and they are eager to follow him, they are ready to be baptized. Baptism is an outward, public expression of an inward working of God’s life-giving grace (see the brochure, Baptism). Child dedication is different because it is a public commitment by parents and the church community to train the child according to the pattern God has designed for that particular child in accord with the Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Though you can’t guarantee a happy marriage relationship for your child, you can model what a healthy relationship looks like. Likewise, your positive example of following Christ can lay a foundation for your child and help them make a wise decision to follow Jesus when that day comes. The Child Dedication Service at the Vineyard is a commitment by the parent and the church community to model a healthy spiritual relationship with God. When the child is old enough—by God’s grace—they too will make their own decision to follow Christ, just as you have.
What happens during a Child Dedication Service?
In the worship service, the families who are dedicating their children are invited to come to the front of the church and each parent and child is introduced. Then the parents and those representing the church community (pastors, prayer ministry team, and often other friends of the family who are church members) pray for the child and the parents. The spiritual significance of this prayer dedication includes:
Together, the parents and the church community recognize that God gives the gift of children to parents (Ps. 127:3).
The parents dedicate themselves to raise the child in a Christ-centered environment and train and educate him or her to follow, love, and serve God (Dt. 6:507; Eph. 6:4).
The church community dedicates itself to help the family train and instruct the child and to lay a foundation of learning about God.
The Holy Spirit blesses both the child and the parents and answers the prayer of the church community to influence the child now—and for the rest of the child’s life.
What is meant by the word "ministry"?
The word "ministry" means service. Christian servants are people who put themselves at God's disposal for the benefit of others. In the Bible, ministry is an activity for which God is able to say, "It is good" (Genesis 1:31). Ministry has significance to God when it is done in faith, hope, and love (I Corinthians 3:9-15; 13:13; I Thessalonians 1:3).
Praying with two or three others
There are several reasons why we pray together at the Vineyard Duluth.
God hears and responds to the cries of needy people when they come together for the purpose of prayer (Psalm 88:1-2; 130:1-2; Matthew 7:7-8).
When we pray together, we join Jesus in his prayer for the people of God (John 15:7, 14:13; 17:1-26).
Prayer is the most direct way to know God (Ephesians 1:15-23).
When we pray together, we help one another to pray better (Ephesians 4:1-6).
Praying together is a way to love and serve one another (Ephesians 5:18).
Prayer is a primary way to be in touch with the work God is doing in people's lives through his Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:26).
Why do we pray for people in this way?
The community at the Vineyard Duluth prays for others because we are commanded by the Word of God to do so and because we believe we are encouraged to seek God's blessings. These blessings are available to us through prayer ministry, which serves as a primary channel for God's work of healing, encouragement, and restoration.
How will I experience "prayer ministry" at the Vineyard?
"Prayer Ministry Time" typically occurs during the last portion of our weekend services and small group meetings. The basic intent of this time is to provide an opportunity for anyone to receive prayer and, for those who are trained, to pray for those who are in need. Generally, prayer ministry will look like this:
A person will respond to an invitation to receive prayer.
A trained member of the congregation will approach an individual and introduce him/herself.
A brief interview (not a counseling session) will occur to help connect the prayer ministry member to the prayer need.
A prayer time will begin. A prayer ministry member may pray with his/her eyes open to observe how God is working. Several activities routinely occur:
The Holy Spirit may demonstrate his presence through physical experiences (feeling warm, chills, shaking, weeping, feeling weak kneed, sweating, deep breathing, etc.) or through a deep sense of peace and conviction. These are common experiences for many.
The prayer ministry member may stop the prayer to inquire how the person is doing or what they are experiencing to better understand what God may be doing at that moment and how to direct the prayer time.
Periods of silence are common as the prayer team member will close with a blessing and make a suggestion for personal action following the prayer. This may include attending a small group or making use of other resources available at the church, i.e. seeing one of our counselors, taking a discipleship class, etc.
Prayer Ministry is a vital part of demonstrating the power and active presence of God's kingdom. In fact, you will find it hard to be at the Vineyard Duluth without having someone offer to pray for you or be given the opportunity to be trained to pray for others. For the community of believers here, prayer ministry is considered an important expression of "normal" Christianity and therefore one of the core values of our church.
Throughout the week, regular church attendees participate in a standard practice and core value at the Vineyard Church of Duluth called "Prayer Ministry." This ministry takes place when an individual, couple, or family responds to something that God is stirring within them and they come forward to receive encouragement and care from other Christians. This ministry occurs at the conclusion of each weekend service or during one of our weekly small group meetings. Moreover, informal prayer between individuals takes place continually throughout the week in a variety of settings. It is our desire to help new people understand what prayer ministry is and why it is a core value of our church.
This is an attempt to answer some of the questions that are often asked about our worship and help you understand the reasons behind why we do what we do.
What worship at the Duluth Vineyard is not:
Worship is not a "spectator sport" at the Vineyard. The singers and musicians on the stage during our worship gatherings are not there to entertain us but to lead us in worshipping God and help lead us into his presence. This is why you will see people throughout the congregation with their eyes closed and their hands raised. They are participating in worship, not just watching it.
Worship at the Vineyard is not a "warm-up" to get us ready for the sermon. Although worshipping God often does soften our hearts and open our minds up to hearing from God during the sermon, that is not the purpose of worship. Worship is to express thanks and adoration to God for who he is and what he has done. Worship has value in and of itself and is not a prelude to anything, including the message.
Worship at the Vineyard is not a "sing-a-long" time. Most people have at some time in their lives joined in a sing-a-long, sitting around a campfire as a kid or gathered around the piano after a big family meal. Worship, however, is more than songs and music. It is coming into contact with the living God. Expressing our thoughts and feelings to him in song is simply a vehicle towards that end.
What worship at the Duluth the Vineyard is:
Worship at the Vineyard is about intimacy with God. It is during worship that we come into contact with the living God in a deep and personal way. Worship is when we turn our attention away from the pressures and stresses of daily life, and through song, consider God and what he has done for us. At the Vineyard, we try not to hide behind "religious" masks and keep God at arms-length. We come to him honestly, letting him see us as we really are, with all our weaknesses, failings, and needs.
The Bible teaches that God "dwells in the midst of our praises." It is during worship that many people actually feel God touching them at their point of deepest need. You will see people with their eyes closed, their hands raised; they might even be crying. God is doing something in them at that moment.
It is because we value intimacy with God that:
We worship for 20-30 minutes. It takes time for people to re-focus and open themselves up to God.
We project the words to the songs up onto overhead screens rather than use songbooks. We want people focused on the Lord and not distracted behind a book.
We sing songs with simple lyrics that are easy to follow and memorize. That enables people to focus on the Lord as they worship and not worry if they are singing the right words.
We sing songs that are directed to the Lord and are not just about the Lord. We want to build up our relationships with God during worship.
We won't always have an "up-beat" type celebration during our worship gatherings because people don't feel up-beat all the time. We don't use music to manipulate people or manufacture a certain "mood." Instead, we value honesty and authenticity in worship.
We use songs that express how we really are—that admit weakness or need, ask for help, or tell God how much we love him for what he has done.
Worship at the Vineyard is about being culturally relevant. Our desire is for people to be able to walk off the street into our worship gathering and not feel out of place or like they have stepped back in time a hundred years. We try to make everything we do and say easy to understand and relevant for a person living today. This is why:
We have a "rock-and-roll" style worship band. This style of music has become the most relevant and meaningful to our culture today.
We have a simple auditorium without any ornate decorations or religious symbols.
We dress casually, allowing people to "come as they are."
Please feel free to participate in worship here at the Vineyard to whatever degree you feel comfortable. You may discover after a few times that you are really looking forward to that part of our gathering—that worshipping God is a wonderful experience. It can help lower your walls of defenses against the Lord, allowing him to touch you deeply and change your life forever.
Our prayer is that you will sense God's presence and know his love for you as you join with us in worship!
Facts about the Bible:
The Bible is a collection of 66 books. The word Bible comes from the Greek word for "books." Scripture, another word used for the Bible, means "the writings."
The Bible was written by more than 40 different authors over a period of about 1600 years. Some well-known Bible authors include Moses, David, Solomon, and the apostles Peter, Paul and John.
The Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments. Testament is another word for "covenant" which is like a contract. The Old Testament is about God's special covenant with the Jewish people and the New Testament is about God's new covenant based on the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament books were written between 1400 BC and 430 BC. These books were compiled into a collection called the "canon" about 300 years before the birth of Christ.
The New Testament was written between 40 AD and 90 AD. The early church recognized these writings as "scripture" but they were not collected into an official canon until the 4th century.
The Bible is not arranged in chronological order, which can make reading through it confusing. The various books are grouped instead by the type of writing they are—law or history or poetry for example.
The Vineyard believes that the Bible was written by men but inspired by God.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "all scripture is inspired by God." By saying "inspired," he didn't mean that the Bible is inspiring to read, or that the authors were "inspired" in the same way a composer is inspired to write a piece of music. The word in the Greek literally means "out-breathed" and conveys the idea that the writing of the Bible was intimately directed by the Holy Spirit. Peter referred to this when he wrote, "…no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21). This is why Christians often call the Bible the Word of God.
At the same time, real historical figures at specific times in history wrote the various books of the Bible. The Bible did not just fall out of the sky, but it is both natural and supernatural—the product of both human and divine activity. Somehow God guided the human authors to write what he wanted us to know concerning our Christian beliefs and practices.
The Vineyard believes that the Bible is revelation.
God has made himself known to men and women through revelation such as the wonder and beauty of creation, the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, and the pages of the Bible. What this means is that the truth contained in the Bible was not arrived at merely through human effort—study, research or contemplation. God had to reveal it—show it or disclose it to the Bible authors. Without revelation, it would be impossible to truly know God.
The Vineyard believes that the Bible is trustworthy.
Everything Christians are required to believe is based on the Bible. It is, therefore, of tremendous importance to determine whether or not the Bible is reliable. It would be impossible, however, to thoroughly deal with all the issues surrounding this subject in a brief pamphlet. Suffice it to say, there is overwhelming evidence supporting the Bible's reliability and trustworthiness, particularly when it's compared with other ancient documents. We can as Christians have confidence that what was originally written down was preserved and accurately passed on over the centuries. Advances in archeology have repeatedly corroborated the Bible's record of history, further pointing to its reliability.
Most criticisms against the Bible's reliability have little to do with actual discrepancies, inaccuracies, or blatant errors and more to do with anti-supernatural biases. Some critics dismiss any references in the biblical accounts to the supernatural as myth, legend or folklore.
The Vineyard believes that the Bible is authoritative.
The Bible is more than just a book of good ideas and helpful hints. It is the Word of God, and since God is both Creator and King, what he says has authority. The Bible has authority over us as Christians in the same way a highway patrolman has authority over us as drivers. In the Vineyard, we look to the Bible as the final authority for what we should believe (doctrine) and how we should live (practice). In contrast to some Christian denominations, here in the Vineyard there is no person or tradition of equal or greater authority than the Bible.
How to get started reading the Bible:
It is essential that as a Christian, you regularly read the Bible. This is how you will grow and mature spiritually as well as how God will speak to you. Here are a few practical suggestions to get you started:
Get yourself an easy to read translation of the Bible. We recommend the New International Version (NIV), Today's New International Version (TNIV) or the New Living Translation (NLT) which are all easy to read and are accurately translated.
Begin by reading the gospels, which tell the story of the life of Jesus.
Start out reading just a chapter or two every day—whatever is manageable for you.
Eventually get a Bible reading plan to follow (available at no cost in the Vineyard bookstore) that will systematically take you through the Bible in a year.
Consider investing in a "study" Bible, which includes helpful background information that will increase your understanding of what you read.
Hopefully this has answered some of your questions about the Bible and given you some practical suggestions for getting started reading the Bible on your own. If you are interested in learning more, please consider joining one of our small groups or attending one of our many Bible studies or training classes.
We in the Vineyard believe fellowship is basic to what it means to be a christian. The Bible teaches that once we accept Christ, we are not only reconciled to God, but we are also relationally united with other believers in what’s called the body of Christ. “Just as each of us has one body with many members…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:4,5).
There are countless verses telling us how to relate to each other and the phrase “one another” alone appears over 60 times:
“…love one another…” (1 John 4:7)
“honor one another…” (Romans 12:10)
“…agree with one another…” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
“be patient, bearing with one another…” (Ephesians 4:2)
It seems obvious that the christian life is meant to be lived in the context of fellowship. Unfortunately, it’s hard to experience real fellowship at our weekend worship gatherings. Meeting “face-to-back-of-head” once a week for an hour with several hundred people is not what the writers of the New Testament had in mind when they wrote about fellowship. While our worship gatherings are a very important part of our church life, it’s at our small group meetings during the week that we can experience fellowship.
Fellowship with other christians is vital to your spiritual health and growth. If you are not yet involved in a small group, we would urge you to make time for this in your life.
How do I choose a group that’s right for me?
Consider what your greatest need is and then look for a group you think will best meet that need from the display of group cards on the information wall in the lobby. Each card contains information about a different small group, such as when and where they meet, who the group leader is, and what the focus of the group is. Vineyard’s small groups meet throughout the week at various times and all around the Twin Ports area. You should be able to find something that fits your need and situation.
What goes on at a small group meeting and how long is it?
The average small group meeting lasts about two hours. For part of that time, the group is focused on their relationship with God. There will be worship, group discussion over a passage from the Bible, and then members will pray for each other. The rest of the time is spent in “fellowship”—coffee, cake, conversation, and just getting to know each other.
Do I have to be invited first before I can attend a small group meeting?
Absolutely not! All of our groups are open to anyone who would like to visit and “check them out."
What will happen if I just “show up” at a small group meeting?
Our small groups love visitors! You will be warmly welcomed and invited to participate to the degree you feel comfortable. All of our groups are accustomed to visitors and new people. We do advise, however, that you call the leader in advance to make sure the group is still meeting at the same time and place. Leaders’ phone numbers are listed on the information cards in the lobby and on our website.
Do I have to make a long-term commitment to a particular small group?
No. You are free to visit as many groups as you like and to attend a group for as short or long a period of time as you want. We do recommend, however, you select a group and stick with it for a while. That will give you a chance to really get a feel for the group as well as to form meaningful relationships
Church and christianity are both very new to me. Should I wait until I become more familiar with the Bible before going to a small group?
Absolutely not! Small group involvement is the best way to grow in your knowledge and understanding of spiritual things. If you think you may feel out of place in a group with “old-timers” or “Bible experts,” you may want to check out one of our disciple-ship groups. These groups are made up of folks who are both new to Vineyard and new to christianity.
Can I bring my kids with me to the small group meeting?
Some groups do provide supervision for children either at the place of meeting or nearby, but some do not. It is best to check in advance by calling the leader or host of the group you are interested in. Their phone numbers are listed on the group card in the church lobby.
Please feel free to contact the church at 218-525-3462, oremail us if you have any other questions or concerns about small groups.
When you obey Christ’s command to be baptized, you identify with his death, burial and resurrection, and publicly profess your faith. Your assurance that your sins are washed away will deepen. Your commitment to Christ, his cause, and his church will grow. And baptism will be a meaningful spiritual blessing in your life, a time you will always remember.
Must I be baptized to receive salvation?
Baptism is important, but it does not save us. The thief on the cross was not baptized when Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). Salvation occurs when saving faith is present in a person’s life, and God declares that our sins are forgiven, and we are righteous in his sight. This is called justification. We receive this peace and acceptance with God by grace through faith in Christ, not by faith and some religious work on our part, like baptism or circumcision (Eph. 2:8-10; Gal. 5:1-12).
Though not necessary for salvation, baptism points to the heart of the gospel and makes us aware that apart from God’s cleansing, we are unclean and dead in our sin. Furthermore, baptism is essential for full obedience to Jesus’ command that those who believe in him should be baptized (Mt. 28:19; Acts 16:30-33).
Who should be baptized?
The only requirement for baptism is saving faith in Jesus Christ. All believers who accept the message of the gospel and desire to follow Jesus should be baptized (Acts 2:41; 8:12).
What does baptism mean, and what will it do for me?
• Baptism is a picture of spiritual regeneration and union with Christ. When saving faith is present, baptism—first and foremost—is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality of union and friendship with Christ. It is a sign and symbol of spiritual regeneration and reconciliation with Christ and incorporation into Christ, his body (the church), and his cause (the Church’s mission) (John 1:11-13; 3:18; James 1:17-18; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Going under the water pictures Christ’s death. Coming up out of the water symbolizes your identification with Christ’s resurrection. Your life is intertwined and united with Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:1-14; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:12). Your future is sealed with Christ and his kingdom.
• Baptism is a picture of repentance and cleansing given through Christ. The water is also a symbolic sign and seal of the washing away of your sin by the regenerating, cleansing power of the Person of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-7). Baptism is a profound spiritual picture of passing through the waters of judgment safely, of dying and rising with Christ and having your sins totally washed away, showing that you are now a friend of God. And so God calls us to repent and empowers us to change from the inside out by his grace.
• Baptism is a sign of membership in Christ’s body, the worldwide church. Baptism is a sign of initiation into the worldwide, global and historic Church. It pictures our voluntary response to God’s sovereign redemptive work and demonstrates that God has given us the grace to believe. When a person makes a credible profession of faith, their baptism pictures their entrance into the instrument of God’s kingdom on earth, the Church.
• Baptism is a spiritual blessing that empowers us for service. Baptism is a sign of the kingdom similar to the way a wedding ring is a sign of marriage. A wedding ring does not unconditionally guarantee a loving marriage! And baptism is not a magical rite that automatically brings down the power of the Spirit. You cannot manipulate the Sovereign King. If a genuine profession of saving faith is not present, baptism symbolizes nothing. Peter told Simon Magus, that though baptized, he was still unbelieving and unregenerate in heart (Acts 8:13; 21-23). Baptism, then, is meant to be a true representation of what it symbolizes.
Through baptism the Holy Spirit desires to fill and empower us afresh, manifesting the presence of the kingdom. Those who truly belong to Christ are indwelled by the Spirit (Rom. 8:9). And the Father is eager to reveal truth, give spiritual gifts and spiritual grace from the exalted Christ, by the Holy Spirit, to his children (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 2:10; 12:7; Eph. 4:11-12).
Jesus was “commissioned” by the Father and the Holy Spirit for ministry at his baptism. Like him, we too enter new dimensions of humble service when we are baptized. He calls us to serve him in every area of life. So, bring an open heart eager to receive his blessing so that you can be empowered to live an extraordinary life of service in ordinary situations.
How should I be baptized?
The New Testament models and assumes baptism by immersion. The Greek word baptizo was a common word without special religious significance. It meant “to plunge, dip, immerse, sink, drench, overwhelm.” John baptized in the river Jordan, not beside it (Mk. 1:5). He “was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (Jn. 3:23). When Jesus was baptized “he came up out of the water” (Mk. 1:10). When Philip baptized the eunuch they came to water near the road and, “he commanded the chariot to stop and they both went down into the water…and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up in Philip” (Acts 8:38-39).
We are wise however, to not make too much of the mode of immersion. Early on in the life of the church a flexible attitude was adopted on this issue. The early church took a practical approach. If there was not enough water for the preferred mode of immersion, they poured water three times over the head (see the Didache 7.1-4, a first or second century document that lacks the authority of—and often contradicts—Holy Scripture, but is of historical interest). So, there is no compelling reason to be overly rigid today, even though the normal mode of immersion is preferable whenever possible.
Does the Vineyard baptize infants?
We do not baptize infants because we baptize only those who make a sincere and credible profession of faith. We dedicate infants following the example of Jesus’ dedication by his parents (Lk. 2:21). We do not encourage parents to push children into baptism as a rite of passage into adulthood or church membership. We believe the family’s faith and the church community can be powerful means of grace in the life of children through which they can be nurtured to receive God’s covenant love (see the brochure, Child Dedication).
It is impossible to set an exact minimal age for baptism. But, on a case by case basis, the church leadership will decide, with the parents, whether an older child should be baptized based on convincing evidence of genuine faith and spiritual regeneration and a desire to follow Christ.
People, no matter their age, must search their own hearts and determine whether they are a true believer. A true believer genuinely desires to follow Christ and become more like him. Church leadership has the responsibility to instruct each person and help him or her make a wise, heart-felt decision and to determine whether it is appropriate for him or her to be baptized.
Is it okay to be baptized as an adult if you were baptized as an infant?
There is not one unambiguous example of an infant being baptized in Scripture. One enters the kingdom by being born again and having saving faith, not by merely being born. While the book of Acts depicts households being baptized, it also indicates the presence of saving faith in Jesus. In Scripture, there is no description of infants having saving faith. Baptism is a sign of entrance into the worldwide and historic Church. If you believe that you were merely dedicated as an infant and not truly baptized, and if you believe that baptism is appropriate only for those who make a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ, then it is okay to be baptized as an adult. It is not a rebaptism.
Do I have to say anything in front of a crowd?
Another important aspect of baptism is the public proclamation of your faith before the church community and your family and friends. Jesus calls us to boldly confess him as Lord without shame or denial (Mt. 10:32-33; Mk. 8:38; Rom. 10:9; 1 John 2:23). This public confession should reflect your growing commitment to Christ, his church, and his cause. It is also a statement of your heartfelt desire to continue in fellowship with the people of God, and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be a faithful disciple who makes diligent use of the means of grace (e.g., worship, prayer, bible study, giving and service).
Do you trust Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Are you ready to commit to grow in Christ-like maturity and humble service all the days of your life? Do you understand what baptism means? Then it is time to be baptized. When you are baptized, you are asked ancient questions, variations of which have been asked of millions of people for nearly 2000 years:
• Question 1: “Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord and King, and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life and grace?
Answer: “I do.”
• Question 2: “Do you renounce Satan and all his works and all his ways?”
Answer: “I do.”
• Question 3: “Do you confess your need for the forgiveness of sins and with a humble heart put your hope in God’s mercy and your whole trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior?”
Answer: “I do.”
• Question 4: “And with his help, do you seek to follow him, becoming more like him until you see him face to face?”
Answer: “With all my heart, I do!”
The first question gives you a chance to say “no” to the false belief that the universe is eternal or that it created itself and “yes” to the Triune God who created everything (including you) out of nothing and who sustains and rules everything that exists (Gen. 1-2; Ps. 33:6, 9; 148:5; John 1:1-3; Acts 17:25, 28; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2-3; 2:10; 11:3).
The second question gives you an opportunity to publicly proclaim the reality that God, as Paul wrote, “has rescued [you] from the kingdom of darkness and brought [you] into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin” (Col. 1:13-14). Your “yes” affirms, along with true believers everywhere that: Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. (1:21-23a; c.f., Rom. 5:10).
The third question is an opportunity to confess your heartfelt trust that you are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone who is both author and mediator of salvation (Mk. 16:15-16; John 6:47; Eph. 2:8-10; Heb. 2:10; 7:25).
The fourth question is an opportunity to publicly proclaim your sincere intent to “continue in your faith” and grow in Christ-likeness and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 4:17-5:20; Phil. 2:1-18; 3:12-4:1; Col. 3; 1 Thess. 4:1-11; etc.).
• Response: When from the heart you say, “Yes!” or “I do!” to the above questions, the person (or persons) baptizing you will say something like, “Because of your testimony that Jesus is your Savior and Lord, and in obedience to our Lord’s command, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Then you will be immersed under the water and—eventually —brought back up again. And don’t worry, they won’t hold you under too long! As the people of God celebrate your baptism, it is wise to linger in the water and pray for more empowering or filling of the Holy Spirit and the imparting of his gifts and graces, so that you can serve him more effectively. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will give a word of prophecy, wisdom or encouragement to you. Also, it is not uncommon to see healing or the breaking of bondage to particular habits of sin or powers of darkness in the process of baptism.
The Bible certainly can help since it says a lot about the Holy Spirit. For example, Jesus always referred to the Spirit as "he" and not as "it" (John 14:15-17). This tells us that the Spirit is a person and not some kind of intangible force like electricity or gravity—he is someone with whom we can relate. If you are a Christian, according to the Bible, you have been "born of the Spirit" (John 3:8), and you have the Spirit, because "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:9).
But the Bible also refers to the Spirit as the breath of God, wind, fire, a dove, counselor, helper, bringer of truth, giver of gifts, source of power. The Spirit is said to "fill" people, "come on" people, "speak through" people, even "move" people. It can all become very confusing. How should we today relate to God the Holy Spirit?
A simple way to think of the Holy Spirit's ministry in our lives is as the experienced or "felt" presence of God. Paul said that Jesus was the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," Jesus said (John 14:9). The Spirit, on the other hand, is the felt presence of the invisible God, which means that the Spirit is meant to be experienced (see John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-4, 17-21; Romans 8: 11,13-16).
Here are a few practical suggestions to help you begin to experience the Spirit of God in your life…ask God for an experience of the Holy Spirit. James tells us quite simply that sometimes we don't have because we don't ask God (James 4:2). And Jesus encourages us to ask God specifically for the Holy Spirit, saying that if we "who are evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13). Begin praying that you will experience the Holy Spirit in your life.
Actively participate in worship. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people. The Holy Spirit is especially present and therefore can be uniquely experienced during times of worship at church. You can begin to experience his presence by actively focusing your heart and mind on God when you worship, both at church and when you are alone.
Receive prayer ministry. There is a pattern in the New Testament of the Holy Spirit "coming on" people when the apostles laid their hands on them (e.g. Acts 8:17; 2 Tim.1:6). At our gatherings each weekend, as well as in our small groups, we pray for each other by "laying on hands." Often through this type of prayer, the Holy Spirit can be felt and experienced.
Attend a conference on the Holy Spirit. Throughout the year, we offer various classes, seminars, and conferences on the Holy Spirit, healing, worship, or the gifts of the Spirit. All of these are great opportunities for you to not only learn about the Holy Spirit, but experience him in a deep, personal way.
Have a daily devotion. The Bible tells us that we will find God when we seek him with our whole heart (Jer. 29:13). Taking time to be alone with God every day for prayer and Bible reading is an indispensable part of the life as a disciple. It is also one of the primary ways God through his Spirit interacts with us, enabling us to sense his presence.
The Bible encourages us as Christians to both seek and expect an experience of God's presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit. David challenges us in Psalm 34 to "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Jesus told his disciples that it was better that he leave, because then he could send them (and us) the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). If you are a Christian and are longing for an experience of God's presence through his Spirit in your life, try the suggestions mentioned above.
If you are not sure that you are a Christian, you may want to pick up our pamphlet entitled "How do I begin a relationship with God?"
Individuals may attend FOTV once a month. We recommend you bring a form of identification when attending our food shelf.