So last week I shared what we’re doing for baptisms at Gateway. This weekend we actually had our baptisms at both our South and North Campus.
I met with a 9 year old girl for about 30 minutes to talk about baptism (she couldn’t make any of the classes). She knew lot’s about faith, but hadn’t ever made a decision to follow Christ. So, it was cool to pray with her and her mom and she was subsequently very excited to get baptized. I baptized her at one service and a set of twins at the next.Â At the North Campus I baptized four or five kids and assisted two sets of parents in baptizing their kids.
We actually didn’t have any last minute kids show up. Every kid who was baptized had gone through the baptism class, which made me feel much better.
Well, I have 3 more baptism classes set up for this summer with one last baptism in August/September. We won’t make any more changes for this one, but I’m looking to do some more tweaking for next year.
So, here’s what’s on the agenda for the future:
A post baptism class:
We had a baptism in April where about 15-20 kids were baptized without attend the class. I’m thinking of offering a post baptism class just to see who we can get to come out. It won’t be our normal baptism class since these kids have already been baptized. However, there’s a great opportunity to give them tools to develop spiritual disciplines. I’ll have ot think about this one.
Pre-baptism class assignment/Baptism class tweak:
Okay, I love the baptism class and there is little that I want to change. As I wrote in my last post, I specifically cover the ABCs of becoming a Christ follower. the kids really connect with the presentation and as a result, many kids make decisions to follow Christ. However, for the last year or two I’ve been burdened. I feel like I’m leaving an important component out. With the ABC’s I cover the fact that we sin and that Jesus died for our sins, but I don’t feel like the kids really get why we need saving from our sins. It’s easy to talk about how Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but sometimes we don’t really elaborate the real problem our sin causes and why we so desperately need Jesus to save us. However, the baptism class is already a 60 minute class and I’m not sure I want to add another 15 minutes covering this and I dont’ plan to add another class. However, I could create a pre-baptism class assignment. Maybe a downloadable lesson kids can do with their parents or even some video driven content as well. By next summer I want to have this piece in place.
Post baptism process:
I really want to develop a “what’s next” process. Baptism isn’t the end. However, too many parents and kids kinda check-off their spiritual check list with baptism. I want to have a followup to the baptism class where kids and parents learn about spending time with God, growing in their relationship with God and maybe even preparing for communion. I know that attendance for something like this will probably be less than for my baptism class, but I’ll have to figure out how to communicate the vision for what we’re doing and apply the proper motivation.
Well, that’s it. Let me know if you have any ideas, thought or comments! Don’t just lurk!
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Baptism and communion are taught fairly frequently in our 2nd-4th grade classroom. I developed a booklet to walk the kids through the process. Then when kids/parents are ready to consider baptism, we offer a pre-baptism class. There is a form to fill out which talks about how you came to ask Jesus to be the leader of your life. With clearance, we use quotes from each candidate’s form during the baptism celebration.
Right now kids and adults are in the same class for this. I am looking to add a class for both baptism and communion for parents & kids together. I love the idea of leaving parents on their own with the material for a few minutes during the class. Have you had any feedback on parents about that component?
Bonnie Deroskis last blog post..Zechariah 8:3-5
We currently have a pre-baptism class that is required for baptism for all kids. Parents or an adult who gives spiritual guidance (grandma sometimes brings kids to church=) is required to attend. i am inspired by a post- baptism class and also the invitation to receive Christ during the class. These are great posts. thanks for sharing!
I am a big fan of pre-baptism meeting. we rarely have enough kids at on time to have a class. I am fighting the battle that I want kids to talk to me before baptism as the pastor just wants to get them dunked.
We present the ABCs each week in our teaching videos. For each series I write a different script (about 200 words) explaining the gospel and relating it to the series. I’m really interested in the piece you’re looking at adding. I think that’s the hardest part to get across to kids since they haven’t lived through as many consequences of sin as adults typically and they may not even relate it to sin in the first place. (Our 3D animator is working on a special extended version of the ABCs to be online by September! Suh-weet!)
Even though we present it every week and have discussion time right after, I still think a pre-baptism family meeting is vital. Mainly because of the point you already brought out of people seeing it as the touchdown instead of the 10 yard line.
Kendra Goldens last blog post..2 Thessalonians 3
Yeah, I’d love to see what your 3D animator comes up with. This media stuff is so relevant and can drive the point home. Yeah, I still need to put some thought into this sin thing. So many kids approach the “God thing” thinking that if they are good enough that is what counts. It’s not just faith though, it’s their approach to everything. It just has to be good enough. In this lesson, I want to emphasize that our very, very, very best falls short. I want to totally and completely destroy the notion of just being good enough. It’s all or nothing and if we come to Christ he allows us to “make it” and without him we fall short. I think to could be a powerful lesson if crafted the right way. It’s one of those stories that could really stick with a kid… the “that’s not fair” kind of moment.
Gina told me how you incorporate the ABCs into every series and message. I love it. I’ve talked with my team about this some and it’s certainly something we want to do more of. I don’t want to have the children’s ministry where we invite kids to come to faith once a quarter.
I’ve been reading all the baptism posts and they’ve been extremely interesting, challenging and applicable to where we are right now. We are looking forward to our big baptism service this Sunday night. At the moment we only do one a year. Not because of anything theological but logistical. (outside- in a man-made pond we fill and drain). Because of the once/year baptism, we will baptize between 200 and 300 adults and children.
That aside, I’d like to respectfully submit our reasons for requiring a class for children who would like to be baptized and why we think it’s so important. We offered 4 opportunities this year, for a kids baptism class-with parents attendance required. This is a full 90 minute class where we address the parents-remind them: this is not a “rite of passage” – we challenge the parents to grow right along with their children, etc. We cover the ABC’s of the gospel as well as the symbolism of baptism, etc with the children. Because baptism reflects a public expression of a decision they’ve made to follow Christ- it’s important for them to articulate what baptism means- in simple terms. This class has become so important to us because, In the midst of the joy of being a part of the baptism team, there is a sadness when we read an adult registration say “I was baptized as a child and didn’t fully understand what I was doing.” “I got baptized as a child because my family was all doing it- or my friend was doing it.” We tell families that we want them and their children to be crystal clear about what baptism means and to give careful thought to if they are indeed ready to take this next step of faith. And whether they decide to be baptized- or decide to wait- we celebrate either of those decisions because they are truly engaging in their faith and wrestling with spiritual things.
I totally understand the Acts 2 rationale for baptism and believe that it was very spontaneous at that time. Yet- when talking about Jews living at that time- this culture already had a clear understanding of the concept of baptism and what it meant. They were exposed to John’s baptism, etc. This was a culture that fully understood the concept of symbolism in their faith. As time went on in the Early Church, baptism became something that was clearly tied to a cost- their families, and sometimes their lives. So when people became followers of Christ-it bacame more commonplace to wait before becoming baptized, fully embracing the seriousness of this statement.
I am sharing this as another way of looking at baptism in relation to children. Children want so much to please the people they love (and that includes Jesus too- I realize!). We get the opportunity to share that this is their decision- not their parents or grandparents. What is most important is their decision to follow Christ. And in all the years of working with parents and children- we’ve never heard of a family regret waiting– but we have had some regret moving too soon.
We have gotten great feedback on the class. And naturally we’ve had pushback from some parents who want to insist on their children getting baptized- whether they know what they’re doing or not. But when the parents sit on the class, and hear their children explain their reasons for getting baptized- it suddenly becomes clear to all that they need to wait. That has been healthy for all involved and initiates healthy, positive spiritual conversations between parents and their kids and we really celebrate that.
Thanks for sharing all your thoughts regarding baptism and encouraging good dialogue on such a holy step of faith.
Do any of you have a resource to give to kids to start them off in the basics of the faith after they have been baptized. Everything I have run across kind of ends with baptism or only gives a brief mention of life after baptism.
Nothing to add. This is good stuff. I agree that parents tend to see baptism as the finish line. So they’re not prepared for the process their child goes through over the next several years where they wrestle with sin and surrender aspects of their heart to God.
I’m in the midst of conversations right now about this very thing. How do we equip parents (and the child):
1. To anticipate a certain process of wrestle/surrender
2. To learn specific spiritual disciplines that do not define the path but put the right ‘anchors’ in place for the journey
.-= gina´s last blog ..Friday Fly-by =-.