An Emerging Understanding of Baptism in the United Methodist Church

Hello fellow conversation partners!

I'm working on a paper for a class at Drew Theological School about baptism and the emerging church; specifically how this gets played out in a United Methodist context. It seems to me that the emerging conversation (and postmodernism in general) has led to a different understanding of what constitutes "church" - for example: the boundaries of who is "in" and "out" are more permeable, and "church" is something that you are and not something that you just "go to" on Sunday mornings (just to name a few overarching concepts). My quest is to seek how this new understanding of church first of all affects our United Methodist understanding of church and how this affects (1) our baptismal identity; and (2) how we understand baptism; and (3) what about Confirmation.

So to break it down a bit further, what does baptism look like in a missional United Methodist context? Does the nature of what the "church" is effectively change how we think about and do baptism - both of infants and of adults? If the way we do and are church becomes more organic and messy, what does initiation into community (Christian specifically, but also in general) mean and look like? What would a more emerging baptismal service look like (from a purely liturgical or worship perspective)?

As part of my paper, I hope to include your voices as United Methodists who are also wrestling and thinking through these issues. If you could all share your thoughts and reflections on this (and perhaps pose a few of your own) to help in this process, I would be most appreciative. It would be great to incorporate your responses into my paper!

Thanks in advance for all your help!