Lately I’ve been blogging about how we do baptisms for kids here at Gateway. My last post yesterday pointed to how I’ve changed things to where parents have a more active role in the class. Click here to read that post if you haven’t already.
So, here’s what it looks like. I set up the room with round tables with 6-8 chairs per table. Families or multiple families sit around the table. Once everyone has arrived and we’re about to begin, I pass out the Baptism Class – Parent Guide. I explain to my parents that everything I talk about is in this parent guide, including all the scripture fully typed out. I express my hope that parents will pull this out again to review with the kids later.
Essentially I talk about order. Kids are at the baptism class because they want to be baptized, but I explain that baptism isn’t first, it’s something we do after we’ve become a Christ Follower. I also take a minute to explain terminology. Depending on where they’ve been before Gateway or what they’ve heard other people say, becoming a Christ Follower can be confusing. Is being a Christ Follower the same thing as “getting saved” or asking Jesus into their heart? After we’ve explained terminology and getting to the heart of what this really is, I spend the next 15-20 minutes talking about the ABC’s of becoming a Christ Follower. I’ve been using this from the days of doing Lifeway VBS and of all the tools, it’s my favorite. I feel it’s easy to understand and hits the most important parts of becoming a Christ Follower.
After we’ve covered the ABC, I hand it over to parents. You’ll see there is a section for parents to lead. Basically there are some scripted questions that parents can ask to create discussion and inspire individual conversations. I encourage the parents to really probe their kids, find out if this is information is new. Have they done this before? Has this been new information? Does your child comprehend? Are they ready to make this decision? If so, pray with them now. I’ve even placed a scripted prayer based on the ABC’s that the parent can lead their child in right there. So far, I’ve had parents lead their children to faith every time I’ve done this class. That gets me very excited!
After paretns have 10-15 minutes with their kids, I come back and wrap up the class. I talk about baptism. What it is (a symbol) and what it isn’t (Salvation, washing away our sins). This last bit only takes another 10 minutes. Again, the focus is on making sure kids understand becoming a Christ Follower. We close up with questions.
Once we’re done I had out the Baptism Class – Response Form. This gives me a little feedback, but more importantly it tells me if and when the child has made a decision. The first time I did this class, I had these forms sitting on the table and I found that parents filled this out before the class was over which didn’t tell me if any kids made a decision on that day. So, now I hand this out at the end. This is very helpful!
Last of all, here are my Baptism Class – Teaching Notes. It’s actually most of the class completely scripted out. I’ve been doing this for so many years, I don’t need these. I’ll usually give this to someone else who’s going to teach in my place. I don’t expect them to do this exactly, but it’s a thorough example of my class. They can take it and personalize it. However, I do want them to do the ABC’s and the parent breakout. Everything else is up to them.
Well, that’s my class. I’ll wrap up my thoughts on Monday (I’ve got a few more things to say) What I’m doing now isn’t the end product, I know that . I’ll also start another series on why I swear by the ABC’s next week, leading a child (or adult for that matter) to Christ.
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