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How to Help Your Child Truly Understand Baptism

Sun, Oct. 22, 2017 Posted: 08:37 PM

Baptism is something that nobody – a young child or an adult – should take lightly. Age isn’t an issue in God’s eyes and parents should make sure their children truly understand baptism before taking part in this important Christian tradition and expression of faith. Do you know what to tell your kids?

Helping Kids Understand Baptism

The first thing you need to understand is that baptism is confusing for children. They see baptism ceremonies in church services or hear about their friends getting baptized, but fail to see the semblance behind it. In their minds, all they see is someone getting dunked in a pool of water in front of an audience. It might be interesting to them, but it’s also a bit strange.

When children ask why people get baptized, adults often answer by saying something like, “She’s getting baptized because she loves Jesus.” And while that may seem like an innocent answer, it can actually cause some confusion. The child thinks, “I love Jesus. Why can’t I be baptized too?” Many parents wonder the same thing, and then let their children get baptized prematurely – before they really understand the depth of their sin, separation from God, and gift of grace through faith in Jesus.

If you want your child to have an accurate picture of baptism and pursue this expression of faith for the right reasons – i.e. not just because everyone else is doing it – then you need to help them understand what it is and what it isn’t.

Assuming that your child has in fact put his or her faith in Jesus – and you’ve had talks about this – you should spend your time emphasizing the meaning of baptism. The act of baptism itself doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s merely a public confession of faith for the body of Christ to witness and rejoice in.

“Baptism takes place in the water,” NewSpring Church explains. “It’s a picture of what Jesus did when He took the punishment for you sins. When you go under the water, it shows people that you believe Jesus died for you. When you come out of the water, you show others that you believe God brought Jesus back to life.”

It’s a good idea to facilitate conversation around the “what” and “why” of baptism for a few weeks or months before making the final decision to pursue it. You want to ensure your child truly wants to be baptized and isn’t making a decision that’s based on emotions or temporary feelings.

3 Ways to Make the Day More Meaningful

Baptism is exciting and worthy of being rejoiced in. Once you and your child make the decision to move forward with baptism, it’s important to start thinking about the process and how you can make it as meaningful as possible for your child. The more you get them excited about it, the more they’ll see the weight and significance of it. This will help them both now and in the future (when they look back on the experience).

Here are some ideas:

1. Invite Friends and Family

Show your child that their day of baptism is truly special by inviting friends and family to the ceremony. Go all out and design invitations, save seats, and host a lunch or gathering after the baptism. Your child will notice these small things and be even more excited about the day.

2. Give a Gift

Children tend to remember and appreciate things when there’s some tangible expression available to them. Many parents choose to give their children special gifts on the day of baptism. This could include something like an engraved piece of jewelry, a personalized journal, or a framed picture.

3. Pray With Your Child

At the end of the day, you should sit down and pray with your child. Remind them that their baptism was an expression of their faith and that they must continue to pursue Jesus and grown in their walk with Him. Modeling these core concepts through prayer will have an impact on them.

Don’t Underestimate Your Child

When it comes to a topic like baptism, it’s easy to assume that a young child doesn’t really know what he or she is talking about. However, you shouldn’t underestimate a child’s intellect. While they might not comprehend all of the theological details of what a relationship with Jesus looks like, they can certainly recognize their sinful nature and accept the idea that there is a savior who came to fill the gap and prevent eternal separation from God.

As soon as you believe your child understands the truth of the gospel, begin walking through the topic of baptism with them. Not only do these talks bring your child closer to God, but they also strengthen your own parent-child relationship.

Boris Dzhingarov