Baptism Exploration: Large Group Sunday School October 2019


Jesus’ Baptism Coloring Sheet

This table is decorated with a coloring example, and has some soft music playing.

As learners arrive, direct them to the coloring table.  They can work on a coloring sheet to take home or put on the church bulletin board until it is time to begin.  You can find some great ones about baptism here: 

Gathering Song:  You Are Welcome Here (

Use this song to get the attention of your learners and call them from coloring to the large group space.

Prayer: repeat-after-me-style with actions (from Affirmation of Baptism, ELW pg. 236)

Father in heaven,                     (sign “father”)

stir up in us                             (stir a pot)

the gift of your Holy Spirit:    (sign “spirit”)

the spirit of wisdom                (point to one temple on your face)

 and understanding,                 (point to the other temple)

the spirit of counsel                (sign for “speak”)

and might,                               (muscle arms)

the spirit of knowledge           (draw a circle on your forehead)

and the fear of the Lord,         (bow in praise)

the spirit of joy in your presence, (sign “joy”)

both now and forever.             (point down at ground and up at sky)

Amen.                                     (hands together in a prayer posture)

SONG:  Camp Song “Saved By Grace” (

Sa-a-a-a-a-a-aved by grace (woo hoo, hoo, hoo)

Throo-oo-oo-ough our faith (through our faith, yeah!)

Sa-a-a-a-a-a-aved by grace (woo hoo, hoo, hoo)

Throo-oo-oo-ough our faith (through our faith, yeah!)

G-R-A-C-E e,

we will worship you faithfully e,

we will live eterna-na-nally.

What a life for you and me!

Sa-a-a-a-a-a-aved by grace (woo hoo, hoo, hoo)

Throo-oo-oo-ough our faith (through our faith, yeah!)

Sa-a-a-a-a-a-aved by grace (woo hoo, hoo, hoo)

Throo-oo-oo-ough our faith (through our faith, yeah!)

Large Group Learning:  What is Holy Baptism?: Pastor Breen 

A Lutheran Sacrament has three things:

1.  A Command:  Jesus told us to do it.

2.  An Earthly Element: A regular ordinary thing, like water or bread and wine, where we can use our five senses to know God is near.

3.  A Promise:  Through the Sacrament, God makes a promise to us.

There are two Sacraments in the Lutheran Church:  Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.  Holy Baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime promise by God to us, and Holy Communion is continued strength for the journey of life.


1.  Invite someone to read Matthew 28:16-20.  What is Jesus’ command?

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

2.  What part of Holy Baptism is an earthly element?  What part can you see, taste, hear, smell, and touch?

      Water!  What else do we use water for?

3.  Invite someone to read Acts 2:38.  What are two of the promises of Holy Baptism? 

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


(I usually have my students, from 8th grade to preschool, line up in order of their age.  I find the middle point in the line and split the line in two, pairing the child in the middle with the oldest and the youngest with the other middle child.  This keeps the ages farther apart, and gives the older youth a chance to mentor the younger youth.  Learners experience the stations in small groups, but work together in these pairs.)

In our worship service for Holy Baptism, we pour water on the head of the person being baptized, put our hands on their head and pray for a blessing, and anoint them with oil to be priests, kings, and prophets. Learners will have the chance to visit three interactive learning stations to explore these elements of Holy Baptism further. 

Water:  SOAP Project

This station is decorated with a small tabletop fountain.  It is a service project to label hotel soaps with the national hotline phone number for the prevention of human trafficking.  This is a project that we are working on in our parish because human trafficking is a huge issue in Nebraska, and this is a simple way to help.  You can learn more about this project here:

When learners arrive at this station, read this:

The SOAP Project was started by a woman named Theresa who wanted to reach out to people who were kidnapped or hurt and help them find safety.  We are labeling soap with a phone number where they can find help, and that soap will be put into hotels where they might be.  Pray over each label you place, that someone who needs help will find it and get help.

After you finish labeling SOAP, work in pairs on the Bible stories on Holy Baptism, using the handout provided and Story Bibles.  There are lots of stories in the Bible about how water saves God’s people.  Today, in pairs, you will choose one to explore.

Before learners leave this station, pray with them:

Let us pray.

Dear God, we thank you for health, and hope, and safety, even as we remember those who are in danger today.  Make this soap available to those who need it.  Help our hands to do your work.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

Fire:  Handprint Shrinky Dinks

This station is decorated with a plug-in campfire from VBS.  It is a Shrinky Dink handprint craft to remind us of the laying on of hands during Holy Baptism.

When learners arrive at this station, read this:

During Holy Baptism, the pastor lays her hands on the head of the one being baptized and asks for God’s blessing.  She uses a similar prayer to the one we used at the beginning of Sunday School today.  To help remind us of this part of baptism, we are going to make a Shrinky Dink Backpack tag in the shape of your hand.

Supplies:  Shrinky Dinks Creative Pack Frosted Ruff n’ Ready Sheets

Colored Pencils


Hole Punch

Craft Oven

Baking Tray covered in Tin Foil

Rubber Bands

1.  Trace your hand on the rough side of the Shrinky Dinks Sheet using colored pencil.  Conserve the sheet as much as possible so we can lots of handprints from the same shape.

2.  Cut around the handprint, not worrying about the details.

3.  Color in the handprint, making sure to put your name on it in large letters (it will shrink).

4.  Cut out the fine details and punch a hole in the palm.

5.  Bake at 325 for 1-3 minutes, as directed on packaging.

6.  When the design is cool, add a rubber band.  It can be added to a purse strap, key ring, or backpack.

Before learners leave this station, pray with them:

Let us pray.

Dear God, we thank you for all of the blessings in our lives.  Send us your Holy Spirit, and bless us to be a blessing.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Oil:  Essential Oil Bead Cross Key Chain

This station is decorated with an essential oil diffuser with Doterra “Forgive.”  It is a keychain made of wooden beads and a wool felt bead.  The wool felt bead can absorb some of the oil we use, and will be a sensory way to both feel and smell the anointing part of Holy Baptism.

When learners arrive at this station, read this:

During Holy Baptism, we anoint the person being baptized with sweet-smelling oil in the shape of a cross.  In the Bible, the act of anointing was used to make people into kings and queens, prophets, and priests.  In Holy Baptism, we are made into kings and queens, prophets, and priests.  We are making a craft that will remind us of this.

Supplies (per keychain):

1 wool ball with a hemp string through the middle

2 large wooden beads

2 smaller wooden beads

1 cross bead

1 metal clip or key ring


Baby oil, olive oil, or other anointing oil

1.  Assemble the keychain as shown by the example.  Learners can clip them to their backpacks, or use them to hold keys.

2.  Using an eye dropper or medicine dropper, add a few drops of baby oil to the wool ball to remind you of the sweet smell of the anointing during baptism.

Before learners leave this station, pray with them:

Let us pray.

Dear God, we thank you that, because of Holy Baptism, we are your kings and queens, your priests and prophets.  Help us to remember the sweet smell of your grace, and the cross that is always on our foreheads.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.


SONG:  Camp Song “Saved By Grace” (

(see above for lyrics)

TAKE IT HOME: Hand out the Take-Home sheet and ask learners to interview their family about their own baptism.  Remind them to make sure to take their handprint, keychain, coloring sheet, and Bible story handout with them as they go today!

PRAYER: repeat-after-me-style with actions (from Affirmation of Baptism, ELW pg. 236)

(see above for words and actions)

Daily Devos: Baptism of Jesus

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 NRSV

 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

  21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.D



Sunday:  Luke 3:15

Dear Jesus, I am thankful that you are with me, even when I am filled with questions.  Help me to bring all of my questions to you.    Amen.

Have you ever questioned something in your heart?  What was that experience like?  What do you remember about John from earlier in our story?  Why do you think he reappears here?

Monday:  Luke 3:16a

Dear God, I thank you for forgiving my sins, again and again and again.  Help me to lead a life worthy of you.  Amen.

John’s baptism was a simple washing away of current sins.  It was something that people repeated again and again over the course of a lifetime.  How does this differ from what you believe about baptism?

Tuesday:  Luke 3:16b

Dear God, send your Holy Spirit into my life.  Be as close to me as my every breath.  Amen.

What do you think it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire?  What is the difference between being washed with water and purified with fire?  In what ways do you think the Holy Spirit is active in you?

Wednesday:  Luke 3:17

Dear Jesus, you take away the sin of the world.  Have mercy on me.  Amen.

John’s statement here mirrors farming practices in Bible times.  Why do you think he compares our lives in God to this practice?  What part of you needs to be shucked away?

Thursday:  Luke 3:21a

Dear Jesus, stir up my faith in you, that I may use the gifts you give to help a hurting world. Amen.

Have you ever been to a worship service where multiple people were baptized or confirmed?  What was that experience like?  What would it have been like to be baptized on the same day as Jesus?

Friday:  Luke 3:21b-22a

Dear God, all of your creation is connected, and we are only a part of the whole.  Help us to widen our gaze, that we may see all the ways in which you show up in our lives.  Amen.

When Jesus was baptized, something different happened.  The heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.  Why do you think this happened?  Tell about a time when you experienced the heavens opening (like a big storm), or something from the natural world reminded you of God.

Saturday:  Luke 3:22b

Dear Jesus, I thank you for the gift of baptism.  Help me to claim my identity as “beloved,” and do that which is well-pleasing in your sight.  Amen.

When Jesus was baptized, God spoke out loud.  What do you think it means that in baptism, you are a child of God who is beloved, with whom God is well pleased?

Daily Devos: Confirmation Day


Stir up in us the gifts of your Holy Spirit, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever, Amen.

COLORING PAGE OF THE WEEK: Avery E.’s Confirmation Verse (Proverbs 3:6)


On the day of your baptism, your parents and sponsors promised:

  • to faithfully bring you to the services of God’s house (Worship)
  • to teach you the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Ten Commandments (Luther’s Small Catechism)
  • to place in your hands the holy scriptures (Bible)
  • to provide for your instruction in the Christian faith (Sunday School & Confirmation Class)

so that you may lead a godly life until the day of Jesus Christ.  On Confirmation Day, we ask the person being confirmed to take these promises on for him/herself.


Why do you think we asked your parents to make promises to you on the day that you were baptized?  Which of these promises do you think is the most important?  Why?  Which one of these is your favorite?  Why?  Which one do you most need to work on?

©Pastor Breen Marie Sipes, Family God Time  Please give credit where credit is due.

Family God Time: Remembering Our Baptism

This week in our parish, we will be celebrating the baptism of an infant.  Since my girls were also baptized as infants, and they don’t remember the event, I thought it would be a good opportunity to remember our baptisms.


I plan to do this Family God Time outside, since we might get a little bit wet!

First, share the stories of your children’s baptisms with them, or ask them to tell the stories, if they know them.

Then, remind them that although baptism is a one time event, we can remember it any time!

bowl of water
small pine branches
youtube video (below)

I found this prayer by St. Osmund:
God be in my head, and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes, and in my looking.
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking.
God be in my heart, and in my thinking.
God be at my end, and at my departing.

First, we will dip our hands in the bowl of water and trace a small cross on each part of our bodies as we do the prayer repeat-after-me style.  For “end and departing,” we will trace copies on our feet.

Next, we will learn a little song that goes with the prayer.  You can learn it with actions here:

Once we know the song with actions, we will dip our pine branches in the bowl of water and fling God’s blessings everywhere as we continue to sing the song  (I fully expect this to become a holy water fight!).

End your time together by thanking God for the gift of baptism.  Thank you for taking some Family God Time together.  I hope it has been a holy time for you.

In Christ,  Breen Marie