This past Sunday, we celebrated baptism at our church with two people being baptized in our services and 5 or 6 more in other services. I really like the way we do it and decided to share some of the ideas I've seen at this church and others.
As a Christian, I believe that baptism is a sacred ceremony, an act of obedience. I don't believe it's a requirement to get into heaven, but it's certainly a good idea. I think that baptism is a sign of a previous act. You first accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and then you are baptized, just as Jesus was baptized.
At our church, the baptismal has room for people to stand behind it. As a person is baptised, family and special friends (typically 2-5 people) walk behind the baptistry and look down adoringly at the soon-to-be-wet person. The pastor introduces the person and mentions some people, typically in the congregation, who were significant in bringing this person to Christ. These people stand in support of the individual. Sometimes the pastor points these out to the individual. I am often reminded of the verse "Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses," the witnesses serve as a reminder to the individual.
Our pastor says "I now baptize you my brother (or sister) in Christ" as he dunks the person under the water. I've often joked that he holds former Methodists under the water just a little longer. One pastor, would always say "Buried with Christ in baptism, risen to walk in newness of life." I like this, but it's certainly not required.
I've head of some pastors who make a big deal out of "getting your baptism on the right side of your salvation." The idea is that a lot of people were baptized at a young age, before they really accepted Christ. The individual needs to be re-baptized as a sign of their true conversion. I understand this and agree with it, but I certainly don't make a big deal about it. If baptism is just a sign (and I believe it is) then it really doesn't make a difference. In fact, if someone was never baptized, it really wouldn't matter. I would have questions about someone who said they don't want to be baptized, but that's a separate subject. It's a sign of obedience.
What ceremony do you have around baptism?