Ask the UMC: What is expected of godparents?

Other Manual Translations: français
Bishop Scott J. Jones baptizes the daughter of the Rev. Emily and Stephen Cannon during the 2015 Great Plains Annual Conference. Photo by Todd Seifert, Great Plains Conference
Bishop Scott J. Jones baptizes the daughter of the Rev. Emily and Stephen Cannon during the 2015 Great Plains Annual Conference. Photo by Todd Seifert, Great Plains Conference

I’ve been asked to be a godparent for a child. What is expected of godparents? Must godparents be United Methodist?

Having sponsors (or godparents) derives from the ancient church practice of a mature, reliable Christian serving as a spiritual mentor and encourager of those being baptized into the Christian life. The sponsor/godparent is a lifelong commitment to spiritually nurture the one being baptized to make a profession of faith for themselves and continue in their growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In all infant baptisms, the parents or other family members serve as the primary sponsors, and in many churches, especially Roman Catholic practice, another Christian or two may be named as godparents. The parents, sponsors and the whole congregation affirm their own faith and their commitment to raise the child as a Christian. Sponsors don’t have to be United Methodist, but should be members of a Christian church.

Being invited to be a child’s godparent is an honor and a serious responsibility. Godparents play a special role in the life of the child.  They help the child know they are a beloved child of God, listen to and pray for them, and celebrate the anniversary of their baptism.

Your pastor can share more about the role and expectations of godparents.

Have questions? Ask the UMC. And check out other recent Q&As.

This content was produced by InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.

First published April 18, 2017.

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