Yesterday we help baptisms at Gateway. The weather was perfect and so many people made decisions of faith and followed Jesus in Baptism. It was an amazing sight to see. However, it was a very different experience for kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love baptisms and love celebrating this day, but for the first time in three years I was more excited about what happened than ever. I’ll share why.

  1. I didn’t baptize a single child
  2. We baptized less kids at the all-church baptism since I’ve been at Gateway
  3. I talked about 15 kids out of getting baptized yesterday

After reading my list, you might think I was crazy. Nope, it was all very intentional. You may have read me talk about our Gateway Baptisms before. It’s an incredible experience of people coming to faith and God convicting hearts and people getting baptized who were not originally planning to be baptized. This works great for teenagers and adults, but can be tricky for kids. Over the years, many kids come to get baptized. They see the commotion and want to participate. Other kids are prompted by their parents to be baptized. Regardless of how it happens, most of these kids don’t understand why they need to be baptized and my greatest pet peeve is to sit down and try to cram in a baptism counseling session in five minutes. So, we had a plan. So let me explain my list.

I didn’t baptize a single child
Probably my favorite thing about being a pastor is leading people to faith and baptizing them. It’s such a joy. However, about 3-4 years ago I had a wake-up call. I realized that the absolute best person to baptize a child is the child’s parent. My role was to walk with parents, help them lead their child to faith and celebrate as they baptize their child. That’s what happened yesterday. About 8-9 kids were baptized yesterday, almost every one was baptized by a mom or dad. Woo Hoo!

We baptized less kids at the all-church baptism since I’ve been at Gateway
Like I said, only about 8-9 kids were baptized yesterday. Normally we would have 3-4 times that many. Why so few? Well, on May 21, we are hosting our very first Baptism Celebration. It’s a family-driving baptism service just for kids. We’re treating it like Child Dedication, where family and friends gather for worship and celebrating kids being baptized. We’ll interview kids telling their story, explaining why they’ve decided to follow Christ and why they’re getting baptized. It’s going to be AWESOME. So, in our baptism class last week, we encouraged families to bypass yesterday’s baptism and make plans to join us on May 21. Most did. Woo Hoo!

I talked about 15 kids out of getting baptized yesterday
I’ve said it before. I hate last minute counseling sessions. I don’t like to rush baptism. In the past 3 years, I’ve not really had anything to point parents to. I’d encourage them to attend our next baptism class which was a month or two later with another baptism following that. That’s not very motivating. However, we have two more baptism classes scheduled in two weeks. We have the Baptism Celebration scheduled for May 21. As we described the Celebration to parents and kids who came up to be baptized yesterday, every one lit up with excitement. Every one said they’d come to the baptism class in a few weeks. Every one said they wanted to be a part of the Celebration. Woo Hoo!

Yesterday was a great day! We had some incredible baptism stories (one I’ll share tomorrow). But I’m most excited about what is to come. Expect to get an information dump as we plan and pull off this Celebration service.