Children can’t be baptized until they meet with me or one of my leaders.
That’s been my rule for the last 5-6 years. Occasionally I’d stick my head in the auditorium and I’d see another pastor baptizing a child and I’d put my foot down. Turns out at my previous church, the receptionist would actually schedule baptisms each weekend. So, if someone called in to be baptized, she’d schedule them with a pastor. Once I learned this, the receptionist knew to ask if there were children and to run them through the Children’s Ministry before scheduling the baptism.
Why is this so important to me? Because if I didn’t have this rule, about 15-20% of the kids being baptized haven’t yet made decisions to follow Christ. A substantial higher number are getting baptized for the wrong reason.
How do I know this? For the past 5-6 years, I’ve met with the majority of the kids getting baptized. If I had to estimate, I’d put the number at 400-500 kids. As I’d meet with these children, 15-20% would make decisions to follow Christ while meeting with me. That alone is reason enough to require the meeting. I also ask every child why they want to be baptized. Easily 50% of children asked answer with one of the two answers:
- Because I want to go to heaven.
- Because I want Jesus to wash my sins away.
I don’t blame them. They’re kids. They can’t know if they haven’t been taught and for many of these kids, their parents don’t know enough to teach them this. For me, it’s very important that a child be a Christ Follower before getting baptized. Duh! It’s also important for me that a child know that baptism isn’t their ticket into heaven or their holy sin bath either. Not knowing cheapens the experience. Everyone should know why they’re doing what they’re doing. That’s why I stand by my rule and you should too.
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