Okay, I thought I had finished this little series, but the conversation in the comments in this post has continued and has prompted me to write one more post.
I’ll be honest. I’m still really wrestling with what we’re going to do here at Gateway. For us to prevent kids to be baptized when it’s happening spontaneously like this seems very anti-Gateway. I don’t feel comfortable with it. However I must admit that every day I think about this, I dislike doing what we’re doing even more. I think I’ve narrowed it down and reached a conclusion on what is most important.
I feel it might be dangerous to allow kids to decide to get baptized because they feel like it the day we’re doing it as a church. That’s right, dangerous. Don’t get me wrong. There are some kids who come up to get baptized and they’ve made a genuine decisions and this was the day they decided to be baptized. However, I don’t think it is the majority.
Here’s the danger. So, a child wants to get baptized. Well, we have people there to meet with that child and talk with them. Often times the person meeting with the child leads them to faith or does the best they can to explain it. What’s dangerous is that we’ve placed our focus on them getting baptized, not their decisions to become a slave to Christ! “Oh, you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Lord and savior? Let’s do that real quick so you can get baptized.” God forbid they miss out on being baptized. Let’s convert ’em real quick.
Shouldn’t our focus be on their decision to become a Christ Follower? I spend the first five minutes of my class teaching the kids that baptism is something you do as a result of deciding to follow Christ. I also repeat many times that the baptism isn’t nearly as important as this decision. We’ll do more baptisms. Don’t rush this decisions. Baptism can wait. I’m not saying that this is related in any way, but why do we wonder that 70+ percent of our kids abandon their faith when they leave home? Did you hear that? 70+ percent of our kids walk away from their faith when they leave for college. Do you think it’s because we’re elevating baptism above a commitment to Christ? It’s nothing for us to see hundreds of kids come to faith in a year. Woo hoo! That’s awesome! But I think I’d be satisfied to see half that number make this decision if I knew that they really, really, really got it.
Here’s my sticking point. When I walk out of the baptism class, I walk out knowing that they got it. They really got it. Some parents write on their response form “not sure they have made a decision.” That’s great. At least we know where they stand. Let’s not baptize them yet. Let’s make sure they got it.
Really, what’s most important?
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