Okay, here I posted about my personal rule. Kids have to meet with me or a pastor before they get baptized. I just want to make sure that kids know what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. However, since coming to Gateway I’ve had to become a little more flexible. I think there is room for compromise here, I just haven’t spent enough time thinking about it. So for now, it is what it is. However, I do anticipate changes by next summer. Perhaps you have some good ideas for me to consider.
In this post I shared how Gateway does baptisms. On average we’ll have 100-125 people baptized at one of our baptism services. Of that number, about half sign up in advance or go through a class. The other half are last minute decisions or people inspired to do so during the service. I really like this. There are a lot of people who God calls their number on this day and the resulting baptism is powerful.
The only thing I don’t like about this is the number of kids who show up to be baptized without having gone through a class. We do have people available to pray with kids and I and some others who work with the kids are available to talk to kids, but it isn’t nearly as good of an experience as the baptism class. What usually ends up happening is a parent really feels inspired to be baptized and often times they decided to make it a family thing… kids and all. Other times a child may just see all the excitement going on and decide that they want to do it on that day. Therefore, we have more kids than I’m happy with getting baptized without the class.
One solution is to offer a post-baptism class. It would basically be the baptism class for those who were just baptized. I think it would be a good experience and it would add value to what they just did. However, I still think it would be strange for some of the kid who would come to faith at the post-baptism class. I’m also a reasonable man. I think we’d be lucky to get 20% of the families to come back to the class. I know that most of the people who come to the baptism class do becasue they think it is required.
The other solution is to just make the baptism class a requirement. I’m not sure how well that would go over, but it may end up being necessary. The baptism service is pretty amazing and so many people are making difficult decisions. There may be some caution toward saying “no” to a family where the parent or parents are struggling with the decision to do it anyway. So, we may just have to find that fine line between being intentional with how we do this for kids and being the open environment that we’ve created for people to easily make this decision if God is moving them in this direction.
What do you think?
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