If they are under the age of eighteen the first word I would tell them is “No!”
I want to see their reaction and how much this means to them.
Before celebrating the baptism of a child it is good to know what it means to them. Is baptism simply a great way to cap off a week at camp? Is baptism their fire insurance? Is it a way to take the relationship to the next level?
BAPTISM: GIVING JESUS THE KEY TO YOUR APARTMENT
I hear an unsettling number of kids using pop culture relationship language to describe what their baptism means. They are beginning a relationship with Jesus and feel like they need to “take it to the next level.” They don’t come out and say that they want to move in with Jesus, but the language mirrors the partial commitments of young adults who are between dating and engagement instead of phrases like “dying to self” or “repenting from sins”.
MY SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS
- Teach Discipleship- Take some time to unpack the significance of discipleship. Jesus calls us to follow him, not agree with him. Discipleship takes the number one priority slot and will consume more time and energy than school, sports, or other activities. Kids need to know the cost.
- Teach Prayer- If they can’t pray, they can’t follow. Prayer will not be mastered in a lifetime, but discerning the voice of God is critical for those who want to be baptized. Teach your child how to set aside time apart from distractions to listen to the voice of God. Have them memorize the Lord’s Prayer and learn what it means.
- Read all four Gospels- I would encourage anyone who wants to be baptized to read all four Gospels while writing down the commands of Jesus. Discuss what Jesus said and did in terms of how to we are to be like him.
- Teach the Biblical Story- It isn’t necessary to memorize the book of Numbers, but kids need to have an understanding of where Jesus and baptism fit into the larger story of God.
- Help them Engage in the Church- They need to be engaged in the life of the body. This takes time, equipping, and intentionality. The church is where they discover their purpose and function. Work with the shepherds and other leaders in the church to help your child find where they fit.
- Find Mentors- Kids need a mentor or two in each environment willing to help them live like Jesus. They need school mentors, church mentors, home mentors, etc. While the apostles were able to watch Jesus in every context, our modern structure demands that we identify a different mentor in each context.